Friday, December 31, 2010

Sorry for the Disruption

So we haven't posted since Tuesday because my internet decided to stop working and Scarlett is away on holiday at the moment.  So posting will be slightly delayed for a lot of things and because of this we will now be announcing the winners for our Summer contest on the 15th of January so you have until then to complete any of the challenges and anything like that. I'll be scheduling up some posts and fingers crossed things will get back to normal soon.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Summer Fun Mini Challenge #7 (Final Challenge)

I wasn't sure what to do for the final challenge.  We decided to make it an easy one though and so both Rebecca and I will be sharing with you our top five books of 2010 as there are only 3 days left of 2010.

Scarlett's List:
1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Brainjack by Brian Falkner
3. The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
4. Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison
5. Matched by Ally Condie

Rebecca's List:
1. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
2. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
3. The Hollow by Jessica Verday
4. Youth in Revolt by C.D Payne
5. Candor by Pam Bachorz

Now, for your challenge today, all you have to do is list below up to five of your favourite books of 2010, you'll get a point for each book you list.  Then on the 4th of January provided all goes well, we'll let you know who has won.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The 10 PM Question by Kate De Goldi

Title: The 10 PM Question

Author: Kate De Goldi

Published: Longacre Press, 2008

Pages: 252

First Line: "Tuesday, the fourteenth of February began badly for Frankie Parsons."

Summary: Frankie Parsons is twelve and has a rodent voice of worry nibbling in his head. His new friend - colourful, creative, talkative Sydney - has relentless, unavoidable questions of her own that force Frankie and his family to face up to things that have lain dormant for years. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: I wasn’t sure what to expect with The Ten PM Question but I’d heard great things about it so I thought it would be a good book to read.  Luckily, I was right.  The Ten PM Question was a really good book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We’re introduced to Frankie and all of the other characters and while Frankie seems a little odd his life seems more normal than a lot of other people’s.  One thing I really loved about The Ten PM Question was that you think you know what’s going on and then a little bit of information is leaked out and you find this information drastically changes your whole outlook on the story so far.  It just made it all the more interesting and something different.

As this book is written by a New Zealand author, it was really good to see a book set in New Zealand and using a lot of good old New Zealand language that just made the book breeze on and had a more homely feel to it.  At the same time it wasn’t overly New Zealand so people from other countries can enjoy it too.

The Ten PM Question is really different to any of the books I’ve read for quite a while and I just found it to be brilliantly written and a really deep read.

I definitely think that The Ten PM Question is worth a read, it just stands out above the majority of young adult novels and I can see why it has won awards.  If you get a chance to I definitely recommend reading The Ten PM Question by Kate de Goldi.

Source: Own book

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Life, The Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams

Title: Life, the Universe, and Everything

Author: Douglas Adams

Published: Del Rey, 1995

Pages: 232

Series: Book 3, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

First Line: "The regular early morning yell of horror was the sound of Arthur Dent waking up and suddenly remembering where he was."

Summary: Join Arthur Dent, earthling, "jerk", kneebiter and time-traveler; sexy space cadet Trillian; mad alien Ford Prefect; unflappable Slartibartfast; two-headed, three-armed ex-head Honcho of the Universe Zaphod Beeblebrox... and learn to fly. Is it the end? With Douglas Adams it's always up in the air!  (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Being the third book in the series I expected more absurdity and hilarity as the other two books had and I was not wrong.

The return of all the old characters I know and love were there and they were all pretty great.  There was also a character I didn’t even remember but whose name seems familiar.

While I did enjoy Life, the Universe and Everything I didn’t think it was the best book in the series.  I did get a few laughs out of this book though.  I also enjoyed the story line because it was different to most of the books that I read usually.

One thing I find a bit odd was this book seemed to have more swearing in it than any of the others and while I’m not usually one to be concerned about swearing in books, I thought it was just put there unnecessarily.  It just didn’t really fit to the whole mood of the book.

I think if you’re a fan of science fiction and looking for something a little different, especially when it comes to humour, then this and the rest of the books in the series would definitely suit you.

Source: Own book

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pants on Fire by Meg Cabot

Title: Pants on Fire

Author: Meg Cabot

Published: HarperTeen, 2007

Pages: 272

First Line: "Oh My God!"

Summary: Katie Ellison is not a liar.
It's just that telling the truth is so . . . tricky. She knows she shouldn't be making out with a drama club hottie behind her football-player boyfriend's back. She should probably admit that she can't stand eating quahogs (clams), especially since she's running for Quahog Princess in her hometown's annual Quahog Festival. And it would be a relief to finally tell someone what really happened the night Tommy Sullivan is a freak was spray-painted on the new wall outside the junior high school gymnasium—in neon orange, which still hasn't been sandblasted off. After all, everyone knows that's what drove Tommy out of town four years ago.
But now Tommy Sullivan has come back. Katie is sure he's out for revenge, and she'll do anything to hang on to her perfect (if slightly dishonest) existence. Even if it means telling more lies than ever. Even if, now that Tommy's around, she's actually—no lie—having the time of her life. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: I really liked Pants on Fire, it was a perfect read for a hot summer.  Especially one where it’s so hot it’s impossible to think straight.

Pants of Fire is very simple in plotline so it was really easy to read through and I enjoyed it immensely.  I felt that it was quite easy to put myself into the shoes of the characters too.  Meg Cabot seems to be really good at writing as though you’re a part of the story.

I liked Katie as a character, I just wished that she’d have gotten rid of Seth sooner.  The good thing is, Pants on Fire is quite short so the plot resolves itself quite quickly.  I think it would have annoyed me if the book had been dragged out even longer.

I definitely did not think of Tommy Sullivan as a freak and I thought he was one of the better characters in the novel which I thought was the point.

Overall, Pants on Fire is one of those great summer reads, it’s light and breezy and was a really good book to read.  If you’re looking for a light summer read then Pants on Fire is a pretty good candidate.

Source: Own book

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Genesis by Lara Morgan

Title: Genesis

Author: Lara Morgan

Published: Walker Books, 2010

Pages: 464

Series: Book 1, The Rosie Black Chronicles

Summary: Five hundred years into the future, the world is a different place. The Melt has sunk most of the coastal cities and Newperth is divided into the haves, the “Centrals”; the have-nots, the “Bankers”; and the fringe dwellers, the “Ferals”. 

Rosie Black is a Banker. When Rosie finds an unusual box, she has no idea of the grave consequences of her discovery. A mysterious organisation wants it – and will kill to get it. 

Forced to rely on two strangers, Rosie is on the run. But who can she trust? Pip, the too attractive Feral, or the secretive man he calls boss? 

From Earth to Mars, Rosie must learn the secrets of the box – before it’s too late. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Being a huge fan of all things dystopian I absolutely adored Genesis.  It is such a great read.
I loved Rosie and she is such a kick-butt chick.  I could definitely read more books about her, which I look forward to doing so.
I loved Pip, he was a very cool guy and I just loved him too.
I think the idea that global warming has already happened in Genesis was a really interesting twist and just the entire idea about water being scarce seems kinda scary and completely new.
I think it was also nice to read a book set in Australia as so many of the books I read these days are set in the Northern Hemisphere.
I definitely recommend Genesis for those of you who are fans of the dystopian genre.  It’s well worth a read.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Title: Fire

Author: Kristin Cashore

Published: Gollancz, 2009

Pages: 461

Series: Book 2, Seven Kingdoms

First Line: "Larch often thought that if it had not been for his newborn son, he never would have survived his wife Mikra's death."

Summary: Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans. 

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Rebecca: Graceling is one of my favourite books of all time and I hoped so much that Fire would be just as awesome.  It was and it wasn’t.  Fire was full of the one thing that really bothers me in books but there was also a great story line.

Scarlett: I felt that Fire and Graceling were similar.  I liked them both but at the same time, I’m not a huge fantasy fan so while I thought they were awesome, they weren’t my favourite books by far.  I think that Fire was amazing, as was Mila, Musa and Clara.  Kristin Cashore is absolutely brilliant at creating kick-ass girl characters which I adore.

As far as main characters go I wasn’t much of a fan of Fire, there were times when I just felt she was being really immature and childish about the most mundane of things.  It just drove me crazy.  I did think that Brigan and Archer were pretty cool though.  Kristin Cashore is quite good at writing male characters that are very interesting.

It was good to see a familiar character in this one, although I actually thought he would be more prominent and it felt like his part was thrown in there slightly willy nilly.

I agree about that one character from Graceling.  It was almost like here was there for two things that weren’t overly powerful when it came to the main plot but at least it was good to see at least one familiar face.

I was slightly sad to see no gracelings although the monsters intrigued me.  I was really interested in Fire in that way because she was something different.  The colourings of the monsters sounded really cool.  Even if they are vicious I would still love a bright green cat.

Having a brightly coloured cat would totally not be worth the monstrous nature of it.  But that was a really cool concept and I for one am totally interested in seeing what Bitterblue will incorporate into it, like what if the monsters head over to the seven kingdoms?  Now that would be something.

I have mixed feelings about Fire but after reading the whole thing I can say that I definitely enjoyed it.  Kristin Cashore is an amazing author and she has created a fantastic world and being a huge fan of high fantasy I am really glad to have read Fire.  I’m definitely looking forward to the release of Bitterblue.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Summer Fun Mini Challenge #6

Two weeks ago I chose the theme of fairies because I absolutely love fairies and this week I have chosen the theme of mystery because I absolutely love mysteries.

So, I have come up with a little quiz to do with mystery books and maybe one tv show, I've tried to make them easy so hopefully you can answer them.  The questions are listed below and they will also be on the answer form.
1. What is the name of Nancy Drew's male companion?
2. What is the name of the author who wrote the Encyclopedia Brown series?
3. What is the first names of the Hardy Boys?
4. Complete the name of this detective created by James Patterson, Alex *****?
5. What is the name of the van that Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Fred and Daphne drive around in, in Scooby Doo?
6. Which famous detective has an assistant named Watson?

Each correct answer is worth one point.
If you haven't signed up for the challenges yet, go here.

Fill out the form with your answers here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wake by Lisa McMann

Title: Wake

Author: Lisa McMann

Published: Simon Pulse, 2008

Pages: 210

Series: Book 1, Dream Catcher

Summary: For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.
She can’t tell anybody about what she does they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control.
Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant… (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Scarlett: The premise to Wake by Lisa McMann sounded amazing.  From time to time I’ll read a suspense thriller and so I was pretty glad when Wake got chosen as our book of the month selection as it was something different.  I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian books lately so this was a welcome change.

Rebecca: I actually thought that Wake was going to be spookier than it was.  I think that’s just how I read the premise to be.  I wasn’t disappointed but it made Wake into something different from what I had expected.
I really liked the flashes into other people’s dreams; it was kind of fascinating just how much different people dreamt about different things.  I just thought that it was really great.  Although, some of the dreams I wasn’t so keen on, but really, I don’t think anybody would want to bear witness to people’s private dreams because they are people’s innermost thoughts, feelings, memories and desires.

I did like the idea of the dreams.  But I also didn’t fully understand the whole lucid dreaming thing.  I’m not really a believer of that sort of thing.  I just find it hard to imagine people being able to control and change their dreams.

I found that part extra interesting because I can change my dreams and control them somewhat and just the idea of dreaming always fascinates me.  I think that’s the main reason I wanted to read Wake actually, just for the dreaming part.

I like to look into character development when I read books and I thought that Cabel for the most part seemed like a really interesting guy and there was just something about him that had me fascinated by him and I just wanted to know him more.  As for Carrie, I wasn’t such a fan, but I felt really bad for Janie.  But Cabel was my favourite character that’s for sure!

I didn’t really connect on a personal level with any of the characters.  But one thing I did notice about Wake, was Lisa McMann’s writing style.  It wasn’t the same as most other authors because it was the sentences were all really short and it just made the book really easy to read.

I noticed that too!  But instead of it making it easier for me to read, I found it kind of hard to read because the sentences were really short and choppy.
Wake is definitely worth a read though; it’s so unique and great.  If you haven’t read it yet then go for it.  I’m looking forward to the next book in the series too.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Angelic by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Angelic

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Published: Subterranean Press, 2009

Pages: 98

Series: Special, Women of the Otherworld

First Line: "Everyone needs a vacation now and then and angels are no exception."

Summary: As a half-demon master of the dark arts, Eve Levine isn’t what anyone would call angelic. That’s exactly why the Fates chose her for the job. She’s their secret weapon against the forces of evil. However after five years, Eve is tired of being the designated rebel of the angel corps, expected to break the rules, then penalized for it. When the leaderless djinn stage an uprising, Eve sees the perfect chance to get herself fired. As she plunges deeper into the demon world, though, she realizes she’s in danger of losing a lot more than her job. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Angelic is a companion novella in the Otherworld series, so it’s really short and quite a fast read.  I read it, and I’ve never read any of the other books in the series so I don’t think you have to, to fully understand what was going on in the book.

I enjoyed it, I thought it was something different and it had really interesting characters.  So, if you love fantasy with angel/demon type characters then you might enjoy Angelic.

I think that Angelic is a good book to read if you’re looking at starting the Women of the Otherworld series because it provides a good insight into Eve’s world.

While I did enjoy Angelic, I don’t think I’ll be continuing on with the series as I feel like there are other books better suited to me than this one.  If you like fantasy and awesome female characters, then you’ll definitely like this book.

Source: Library

Friday, December 17, 2010

Torment by Lauren Kate

Title: Torment

Author: Lauren Kate

Published: Delacorte, 2010

Pages: 452

Series: Book 2, Fallen

First Line: "Daniel stared out at the bay."

Summary: May contain spoilers! Hell on earth. That's what it's like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts - immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students -Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans. 

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn't told her everything. He's hiding something - something dangerous. What if Daniel's version of the past isn't actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: I started reading Torment and hated it, it was so boring, everything the angels did drove me crazy and so I put it down and seriously considered not reading it at all.  So I sat it down and for a week it tormented me.  I did my best to avoid reading it.  Then I decided that I had better finish it so I sat myself down and forced myself to read it.

I’m glad I did.  After I got about a third of the way in, Torment picked up and was actually really good.  There were a few things that still drove me crazy but for the most part I was really intrigued.
I was excited to see some new characters such as Miles, and by the end I admit I had a soft spot for Shelby.  Steven was interesting too.

Daniel annoyed me though.  I am starting to think that I am on the side of the demons.  For now anyway, only because they’re all more charismatic and they seem more open.

The ending was brilliant.  I cannot wait to read the next book, Passion, which doesn’t come out until next year.

You may find Torment to be slow at first like I did, but if you persevere I think you might enjoy Torment.

Source: Library

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Title: Good Omens

Author: Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Published: HarperTorch, 2006

Pages: 412

First Line: "It was a nice day."

Summary: You see, there was a bit of a mixup when the Antichrist was born, due in part to the machinations of Crowley, who did not so much fall as saunter downwards, and in part to the mysterious ways as manifested in the form of a part-time rare book dealer, an angel named Aziraphale. Like top agents everywhere, they've long had more in common with each other than the sides they represent, or the conflict they are nominally engaged in. The only person who knows how it will all end is Agnes Nutter, a witch whose prophecies all come true, if one can only manage to decipher them.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Good Omens was something different and I really enjoyed reading it.  I’ve read books by both Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett before and I thought that the combination of the two of them made for one very interesting book.

I found myself laughing at loud at several points of the book and thought it was just a great take on the idea of angels and demons and the antichrist.  It’s definitely for those who enjoy something quite funny.

My favourite character would have to be Crowley.  He just seemed like such an awesome character and he made the whole novel.

If you’re a fan of Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett or have an odd sense of humour then I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy Good Omens.  It’s definitely worth a read.

Source: Own book

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Adversary by Kate Kaynak

Title: Adversary

Author: Kate Kaynak

Published: Spencer Hill Press, 2010

Pages: 238

Series: Book 2, Ganzfield

First Line: "Were we too late?"

Summary: Things are more dangerous than they seem at Ganzfield, and not everyone will survive. Does Maddie have what it takes? (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: After having absolutely loved the first book, Minder, I couldn’t wait to delve into Adversary.  I expected it to be just as amazing as Minder and I was not disappointed.

Adversary starts off with action and just keeps going and going until the very end.  I don’t normally like books like that but with Adversary there was just something about it that had me hooked.  I just kept reading because I had to know what was going to happen next.

Adversary had parts that made me laugh but it also had its serious parts.  Some of it was really serious and quite sad.  I feel so bad for so many of the characters because of what they’d been through by the end of it all.

The new character Zack seemed very interesting and I’m hoping he’ll be in the next book.  There were times when I didn’t trust him but others when I thought he was a genuinely nice guy.  All of the other characters were pretty cool too.  Although, there were a couple of times when I thought Maddie was a bit annoying but she pulled through in the end to still remain a very cool character.

There were so many surprises in Adversary that I just didn’t see coming and I loved it.  Kate Kaynak writes a book that leaves you guessing and wanting more and what’s more it features psychics who have really cool powers.  I admit that I always wished to be a mind reader (but only if there was some way to shut it off when I wanted to) and so Adversary is just one really awesome book because it gives me insight into what being a mind reader would be like.

Adversary is an amazing book and if you haven’t read it or the first book Minder yet, then you should definitely do so soon.  I love this series and am eagerly awaiting the next book, Legacy.

Source: Kate Kaynak for review

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Summer Fun Mini Challenge #5

Randomly enough, today is my first wedding anniversary and so this weeks challenge theme is romance.

I'm going to make this one an easy one, basically all you have to do is comment below with your favourite couple of all time, in books.

Everyone who answers will get a point towards their challenge list.  If you haven't signed up for the contest yet  go here.

I'm going to say my favourite would be Katniss and Peeta from the Hunger Games. So I look forward to reading all your favourite literary couples!

Monday, December 13, 2010

You Already Know How To Be Great by Alan Fine

Title: You Already Know how to be Great

Author: Alan Fine

Published: Portfolio, 2010

Pages: 256

Summary: In trying to improve-on the playing field, in the office, or even at home-most people seek out new information to get to the next level. They read a book, attend a class, or hire an expert to give them an edge. 

But Alan Fine, an accomplished tennis, golf, and executive coach and a renowned authority on peak performance, believes that this "outside-in" method is precisely what's holding you back from doing your best work. He's found the biggest obstacle to improved performance isn't not knowing what to do; it's thinking too hard about what you already know. The tips and tools designed to help you get ahead can actually interfere with your ability to focus. 

Fine reveals his simple and proven approach to achieving breakthrough performance. It starts with reducing the interference that blocks your potential through an amazing process called G.R.O.W. (Goal, Reality, Options, Way Forward). 

No matter who you are or what you do, You Already Know How to Be Great will help you eliminate what is standing in the way of your goals. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: I’m not normally one to read self – help books but You Already Know how to be Great looked really good so I thought I’d read it.

I found You Already Know How to be Great to be quite helpful and it had something for everyone.  Being a student I wasn’t sure if I would get much out of it but I did, I now have some tactics to put into practice when I get into stressful situations regarding study next year.

There were so many great quotes from famous people that were only tiny but each one held a certain meaning and they were just really insightful.  They made a nice addition to an already good book.

The diagrams were very interesting and I actually found them to be really eye catching so I found myself reading through the book faster to read all the little grey boxes and interesting diagrams.

Overall, I think that if there was one self-help book that anyone wanted to read in their life then this one would be quite useful.  It isn’t just made for one type of person it’s for several different types of people.  You Already Know How to be Great is definitely a book I’ll be hanging on to, to read in the future when my life situations change.

Source: Inside Out Development for review