Tag: young adult

Ten Series I Haven’t Read Yet (But Everyone Else Has!)

Posted June 20, 2017 by Hannah in Features, Top Ten Tuesdays / 5 Comments

 

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by Broke & Bookish

FACT: I am a terrible reader of series. I’ll start series, and not finish them. Even worse? I’m so far behind on catching up on series I haven’t even started yet, that I want to read. I know, I know. What sad excuse for a book dragon am I? But life, people. Life. Why can’t I get paid to just lounge around in my pjs all day and read books?!

 

 

The Dark Artifaces by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight | Lord of Shadows | The Queen of Air & Darkness

I haven’t even finished The Mortal Instruments yet, so this is one series that has been sitting on my to be read list and probably will for a while! I just can’t justify starting it without knowing how TMI ends…which means an entire re-read of the books I have read is in order. Hello, binge reading session! Maybe once the last book is out – because I’m terrible at waiting!

 

The Disruption Duology by Jessica Shirvingon

Disruption | Corruption

This duology by #LoveOzYA author Jessica Shirvington has been sitting on my shelves for ages (well, okay, since last year). It’s a blend of sci-fi and dystopia, and I’ve heard very good things, so why haven’t I read it yet???? #tbrtoolong

 

  

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Choshski

The Star Touched Queen | A Crown of Wishes

Yet another duology I’ve heard really great things about and I’ve not started yet. A Crown of Wishes only came out this year, and these two books just sound so appealing!

 

The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae | Gemina | Obsidio

I think I’m the only person in the book community to have not read these books? Okay, so Obsidio doesn’t come out until next year, so I’ve either got a lot of catching up to do or I can get away with not reading them until it is out…

 

 

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott

Court of Fives | Poisoned Blade | Buried Hearts

This series sounds so good. A fantasy world with a competition of epic proportions, friends and family loyalty? I think I need a four week holiday for all this series binge reading I need to be doing!

 

The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine

The Imposter Queen | The Cursed Queen | The True Queen 

Some of my favourite people rave about these books, but again, it’s another series where the final book hasn’t been released yet. I feel like now that I’m older, I’m less “I want it now/can’t wait for the next book” and more “I’ll wait until the series has finished” for books I’ve not read? Ha, who am I kidding – give it to me now!

 The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath & The Dawn | The Rose & The Dagger

There’s a reason this TTT is so aptly named. I PROMISE I WILL READ THIS DUOLOGY BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR, OKAY????

  

Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic | A Gathering of Shadows | A Conjuring of Light

See above. Although I’m going to have to take a week’s holiday to binge read these books because boy oh boy, they are maaaaassive.

 

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina | Shadow Scale

A series about dragons and I haven’t read it yet? I feel like Derek from Zoolander. “Who am I?”

 

 

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes | A Torch Against The Night | Untitled Books 3 & 4

In my defence, I’m going to go down the “but there’s more books in the series and I don’t know if I can deal with the pain of a cliffhanger” route on this series too.

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The Power of Fandom: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Posted June 6, 2017 by Hannah in Blog Tours, Reviews, Young Adult / 2 Comments

The Power of Fandom: Queens of Geek by Jen WildeQueens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Published by Swoon Reads, Pan Macmillan Australia on 1st May 2017
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
BoffinsDymocksBooktopiaPublisher
Goodreads

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

I started blogging because of a convention.

In 2009, I moved to the UK. Oh so conveniently at the same, Twilight mania was still in full force, and I was, yes, an uber Twi-hard. I was part of a couple of forums online, and had developed some fantastic friendships that I still hold dear to this day. I wrote fanfiction (it’s still on FF.net but it’s terrible, you don’t want to read it). So of course when I heard that there was going to be a convention dedicated solely to Twilight and the stars of the film, my friend and I leaped at the chance to go. We had so much fun that we went three times.

I still remember the excitement of going. It was daunting – but everyone was there for the same reason you were. You got to meet some amazing people – and not just the celebrities! It was at the first convention I went to I met a girl who was a blogger – and honestly, if it wasn’t for meeting her, I don’t know if I’d even fall into the blogging scene. And that would have meant not meeting some of the most amazing people I have today!

If it wasn’t for conventions, I would never have met one of my best friends either. In 2014, I went to an OzComicCon event because one of my favourite actors (yes, Benedict Cumberbatch!) was doing a special Sydney event. Of course I had to go. And in the end, it didn’t just turn in to a day were you met a celebrity you’ve looked up to (literally, he was that tall) for a long time. You forged friendships and met people you wouldn’t necessarily meet – and one small detail bonds you together.

Queens of Geek is a testament to that connection, forged out waiting in long lines and that current running through the house – these are my people. It’s the story of Taylor, a young Australian learning that her anxiety isn’t a barrier. It’s Charlie’s growth in being proud in who she is at heart, and that others don’t define her. It is, essentially, a story for all young women and men out there who are trying to find their place, and that’s what makes this novel so attractive.

Stories like Queens of Geek are essential, I believe, in helping to shape and nurture a young generation who are afraid to be who they are. That they are not defined by pre-disposed boxes or labels. There’s a lot of diversity representation in QoG, and it’s representation that, to my knowledge, is done right. If you don’t believe me, I’d recommend checking out all the amazing reviews on Goodreads. It also fosters and nurtures the idea that you are never alone, no matter how small or insignificant or how different you feel, because chances are, there’s someone out there who feels exactly the same.

Unlike a lot of my fellow readers, unfortunately I didn’t love QoG as much as I wanted to. There’s very little in the way of plot, which considering it takes place over a weekend convention, makes sense. My other main gripe is probably a little insignificant in the scheme of things, but it made me sad that Taylor wanted to go to a U.S. university to study screenwriting when we have amazing locations right here in Australia. While the author and two out of three of the main characters are Australia, the homegrown #LoveOzYA identity was missing from this novel. Whether or not that was because the place setting was supposed to be a mirror of San Diego Comic Con, which is easily recognisable throughout the world, or that the publisher (Swoon Reads) is American based, I felt that it sent a message that Australia wasn’t good enough on the film industry front – which is…ironic, I guess, considering Charlie has just starred in a breakout Aussie film (which, for our industry, is a huge thing, something to be applauded). So the pressure of getting into an international university when we have some outstanding leaders in our own industry was a little hard to fathom. Also because studying at a university overseas for the full degree is not a light decision to make, and also a very costly one. It was all a little…unrealistic?

In saying that, it brings me great joy to see how much Queens of Geek has been embraced by the YA book community. That it brings a smile to people’s faces and touches their hearts is truly what literature is all about. Seeing yourself reflected in these characters and Wilde’s words is what diversity is meant to represent, and that is where this book finds its groove.

“To the weirdos, the geeks and the fandom queens. To the outcasts, the misfits and everything in between. The days of playing sidekick are over. You are the superheroes now. You are my people, and this is for you.”

Image result for jen wilde

Jen Wilde is a writer, geek, and fangirl with a penchant for coffee, books, and pugs. She writes YA stories about zombies (As They Rise), witches (Echo of the Witch), and fangirls (Queens of Geek). Her debut series reached over three million reads online and became an Amazon bestseller. When she’s not writing, Jen loves binge-watching her favourite shows on Netflix, eating Mexican food, traveling to faraway places, and going to conventions in Marty McFly cosplay.

Jen lives in a sunny beachside town in Australia with her husband and their cheeky pug, aptly named Heisenberg.

Website | Twitter |  Youtube | Instagram

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Magical, Mysterious & Mesmerizing: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Posted February 5, 2017 by Hannah in Reviews, Young Adult / 3 Comments

Magical, Mysterious & Mesmerizing: Caraval by Stephanie GarberCaraval Series: Caraval #1
by Stephanie Garber
Published by Hodder & Staughton, Hachette Australia on 31st January 2017
Pages: 416
Format: E-Book, E-ARC
Source: Publisher, Netgalley
BoffinsDymocksBooktopia
Goodreads

Two sisters bound by love and a father they fear escape their tiny, secluded island for the wondrous performance of Caraval, where the audience plays along in a mysterious and magical game of determining what's real and what's fantasy. And where only one sister might be brave enough to win the ultimate prize of 'an impossible wish'...

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for lonely Scarlett, it represents freedom, an escape from her abusive father and from her own dark past.

Still, Scarlett is too scared of her father to leave Trisda. Until she is kidnapped by her wild younger sister Donatella and a dangerous yet oh-so-seductive sailor named Julian and taken to the mystical Isla de los Suenos, the site of this year's Caraval. When they arrive, her sister immediately disappears. Since protecting Tella is all she knows, Scarlett is forced to join forces with Julian and find her before the evil Master of Caraval does...

You’ll hear a lot of pretty words used to describe Caraval – spellbounding, mystical, magical, breathtaking, atmospheric – pretty much all are accurate and true. Caraval is one of those stories that is so visually stunning, that for a debut author, Garber has cemented herself as an author whose words truly leap off the page.

So what’s all the fuss about? What we have is our heroine, Scarlett, who haslonged to participate in Caraval, the legendary magical circus-come-scavenger hunt. When she is gifted three tickets – one for her, one for her sister Tella, and one for the fiancee she’s never met. But when Tella goes missing on their arrival and Scarlett is left with Julian, the enigmatic sailor who whisked them to the island, Scarlett must play the game – and win – in order to get her sister back, and alive.

Caraval is full of plot twists, which is part of what makes the book so delectable. If you think you’re getting the stock standard YA fantasy, then you’re wrong. I was so caught up in ‘playing the game’ with Scarlett and trying to second guess every next step and play that I was completely swept up in the book, and couldn’t put it down. Was it real or not real? Only a game or not? I’ll leave you in suspense and make you go read the book.

The relationship between Tella and Scarlett was amazing, and sadly, I just wanted more and more. As you can tell, Tella isn’t present for a lot of the book, popping every now and again but there was a such a strong sense of love and devotion between the two. They were two incredibly different characters, and at times I felt that there could have been more depth to both. At times I felt Scarlett to be quite a judgemental character, but I was impressed at her determination in never giving up in finding Tella. And a character with synesthesia? I’d never heard of that before now, and at first it was a little confusing, but once I begun to understand Scarlett, it made a great aspect of the novel. Speaking of relationships – I can’t not mention Julian, who was probably my favourite character. I loved the banter between him and Scarlett, and the way he pushed her to be a better person.

There were a few minor niggles that made Caraval a four star instead of five star read, and I hope that they’ll be explored more in coming books (oh please tell me there’s more books!). Firstly is the world building – you get a brief sense of the world that Scarlett lives in, a conglomerate of islands ruled by governors, but you don’t get much beyond that. And I always find fantasy worlds so fascinating, so this left me a little disappointed. I wanted to know more about the culture, the history – from my sense, I got a very Italian vibe, especially with the names and costumes. Look at me, always wanting more!

So if you are wanting a book that is visually rich as it is enchanting, then look no further than Caraval. And if you don’t do it for the story, those covers, am I right?!

A huge big thanks to Hachette Australia who provided me a copy in exchange for review. Caraval is out now in all major bookstores and retailers.

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Hungry for Wonderland: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Posted December 1, 2016 by Hannah in Blog Tours, Reviews, Young Adult / 1 Comment

Hungry for Wonderland: Heartless by Marissa MeyerHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on 8th November 2016
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback, ARC
Source: Publisher
BoffinsDymocksBooktopiaPublisher
Goodreads

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, the infamous Queen of Hearts, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favourite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King's marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness and monsters, fate has other plans.

I kind of have a love/hate relationship with Marissa Meyer and her books. I love her as a person – her writing advice is solid, she’s a beautiful person, and she has a great knack for creating really interesting worlds. However…I just don’t ever seem to enjoy the plots of her books. In saying that, I’ve only read Cinder, and haven’t as yet continued with the series. So I was looking forward to reading Heartless, a fantasy standalone back story to the famous Queen of Hearts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Like many, many people, I’ve been a huge Lewis Carroll fan since I was a young girl (thanks Mum!). I can remember pouring through this really old copy of Through The Looking Glass we had and absolutely being besotted with the rhymes, idiocies and illustrations. So whenever a unique retelling or reimagining crops up, I am there faster than the White Rabbit.

The best thing for me about Heartless was the world. Meyer has created a fantastic backdrop to the story, and it’s probably the reason I kept on reading. Heartless has the whole host of Alice characters we know and love coupled with unique twists that will make any Alice fan smile. I also loved how there were sly little references to other nursery rhymes. For example, one of the characters is Sir Peter, a reference to the nursery rhyme Peter, Peter.  The way it was all put together was simply amazing, and I had so much fun reading all the little details, from the flamingos (‘Ah like shrimp’) to the jumble group of Hatta’s tea parties.

Sadly, that’s where things tend to go a bit south for me. Everything else I found…rather boring. Which is a shame, because I really wanted to love this novel. Cath seemed like a character that I could understand solely for her love of food. But even all the references to sweets and pies and chocolate seemed too much. There isn’t a lot of plot going on in Heartless until the last quarter of the book, as this is, essentially, an origin story for the villainous Queen of Hearts we all know from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The plot is simple: Cath wants to open a bakery, but her parents want her to marry the King of Hearts. Then Cath meets Jest, the new court joker, and everything evolves from there. I can see where Meyer was wanting to go with this – the whole idea of living your own destiny, following your own heart and not the wishes of others – but it just didn’t resonate with us. I felt as if Meyer had spent so much time creating such a wonderfully vivid world that the characters and the plot were swept aside. Even the romance seemed forced, and for a book that’s over 400 pages long, way too instalove for my liking. I would have preferred to get to see Jest and Cath’s feelings develop slowly, rather than all at once. In saying that, my favourite character was probably Hatta, aka the Mad Hatter, and I think Heartless is well worth the read for his story alone.

It’s sad when something doesn’t quite live up to its full potential, but if you don’t mind a (very) slow plot and can look past instalove for the great world building, Heartless definitely belongs on your TBR.

Check out the other blogs on the Australian Heartless blog tour below!

 

 

 

 

 

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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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An Ending So Perfect in The Winner’s Kiss

Posted May 24, 2016 by Hannah in Reviews, Young Adult / 1 Comment

An Ending So Perfect in The Winner’s KissThe Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Published by Bloomsbury ANZ on 24th March 2016
Pages: 496
Format: E-Book
BoffinsDymocksBooktopia
Goodreads

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

It’s always hard to review the last book in a series, but just as hard to review one which is literally perfection personified. If you haven’t started The Winner’s Trilogy yet, I advise you to drop what you are doing and start – right now!

The Winner’s Trilogy is one of the most vividly lush fantasies I’ve read in a long time, and takes a special spot in my reader’s heart. The Winner’s Kiss is just as thrilling as the other two books in the series, and picks right up from the devastating ending that was The Winner’s Crime.

Marie Rutkoski (@marierutkoski) | Twitter:

For someone who has always struggled with fantasy – and third person point of views – this series has just blown me away from Book One. Rutkoski has such a talent with weaving beautiful prose into an action packed storyline that leaves you breathless with every moment. For most of The Winner’s Kiss I was on the edge of my seat, breath held, wondering what could possibly happen next – and how it could all be wrapped up, leaving no stone unturned. Everything about The Winner’s Kiss was fast paced and filled with action.

As usual, the characters – every single one of them, from Arin and Kestrel to the Emperor and Kestrel’s father – were amazing. The comic relief that Roshar provided wasn’t over the top, and like I said in my review of The Winner’s Crime, the bromance between Roshar and Arin was probably one of the highlights. Arin and Kestrel – oh man, I can’t help but gush over them. Fictional Couple Award of 2016 right there. All their trials weren’t for naught, and I loved how even in the last book – right up to the last page – they were still growing, their strengths and weaknesses working around each other. What a perfect romance.

The Winner's Kiss:

So basically, if you want to be emotionally wrecked from start to finish, then read this series. Because I can guarantee you (no money back!) you’ll fall in love just as much as I – and so many others – have done.

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