Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 2015 Wrap-Up

Heyyyyy guys. three things I'll be covering today - the books I read in May, my May book haul, and my TeenCon2015 recap!

If you remember that far back (aka 1 month, I barely remember what I did yesterday), I only read 3 books in April. Shocker. This month I've managed to read 9 books - YEYEY. I am so pleased with myself. May was actually themed 'Mystical May' where I basically read all books that had elements of magic/fantasy to them. Mission = SUCCESS. Although, this meant that I only read 1 review book at the end of the month haha.

Books Read

  • Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel Hawkins I really loved the MC's voice and actions throughout this. I can't wait to read the sequel
  • Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White  Pleasantly surprised by Illusions of Fate. I quite adored the romance and the progression. I thought there could be more though!
  • End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days #3) by Susan Ee *HEAVY BREATHING* SWEET BABY JESUS. AMAZING. Honestly, if you guys haven't started the Penryn and the End of Days trilogy I swear you need to stop reading this post stat and just go buy the trilogy. While book 2, World After, sort of faltered in places, I thought EoD went back to the action-packed, angsty style of Angelfall. This was FABULOUS. Constant movement, SO MUCH FEMALE POWER - honestly the Young women (Penryn herself, her lovely and strong sister Paige, and her mum) are so independent, resilient and determined. They also never stop loving and embrace the meaning of family. I was extremely touched by Paige. When you read this you'll understand. And Raffe. AHHHH.
  • The Young Elites (The Young Elites) by Marie Lu I think I had set too high expectations for this. While it was good, I didn't think it was good as it could have been. Just something about Adelina that didn't sit right with me. I still prefer Lu's Legend trilogy which blew me away. That's not to say TYE isn't worth reading, it definitely is and heaps of people love this.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1) by VE Schwab *Sucks in deep breath* Wow Schwab just doesn't disappoint. I've read 3 of her books now and they're all amazing. While I liked the characters of Vicious overall, I adored the world-building and magical element of ADSOM. It was mind-blowing and I can't wait for the sequel!
  • Unhinged (Splintered #2) by AG Howard This was also really enjoyable and I just love the macabre imagery Howard uses. It's a really good well thought out retelling of Alice in Wonderland and progressing nicely so far. Will read the last one soon!
  • Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes  Nice world setup overall but I think this was too black and white for my liking. There was such a naive quality to the characters' ways of thinking. The way kings thought that by asking another kingdom to simply surrender, they would - WHAT THE? I also wasn't a massive fan of some of the main characters but I'm told it gets better so that's a relief considering I have the next 2 books!
  • The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh This is one of my 2015 anticipated debut releases so I had extremely high hopes for this. And oh boy I wasn't disappointed. This met ALL my expectations. It was so full of angst, so smart and I'm guessing a pretty good retelling though I haven't read the original. The characters were all so complex, layered and multidimensional. You just couldn't tell with anybody and goddam I loved it. The writing and imagery is like poetry. Definitely a 2015 fav.
  • Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout  This was super cute for 70% of the book and then this thing happens and I felt like I got hit by a firetruck and the waterworks started. The Korean element to this was definitely my favourite. Stout makes me want to visit Korea so badly now. As an avid lover of KPOP I guess I wanted more of the KPOP but the swoony KPOP star was enough for me without all the music (; More to come in my review.

Book Haul


Review Copies

Freebies from TeenCon2015

TeenCon2015 Recap

Started the day by meeting up with Joy and Alana from Thoughts by J at Circular Quay and then we headed up to Walsh Bay (where a lot of the events of the SWF were held). We met up with Kat and her friend, then had lunch at this cute cafe Alana recommended to us. Momentarily met up with Jess from My Reading Dress and her cousin, and Pavan from Keep it Fictional. Joy, Alana and I then went to get a drink and line up for the first ever TeenCon! Holy crap, the chai lattes Joy and I got were so sweet it was like drinking diabetes. While lining up I found Kristy (aqueenofbabble), Courtney (literatureloveaffair) and Bec (thebookhangover) at the front of the line! Then Shaheen from Speculating on Specfic showed up, followed by Laura (Laura Plus Books), Viv (This Book Saved My Life) and a few other bloggers (my memory is so terrible I'm sorry). But basically it was awesome and Gabrielle Tozer, author of The Intern, lined up with us too!

Anyway show time! I GOT FRONT ROW SEATS :D

Floss from PenguinTeen Australia opened up with the panel featuring Tilly (tilly-and-her-books) and Ali (readaroundtherosie) who represented Booklr (the book community on tumblr), Kat (Cuddlebuggery) representing bloggers, and Caz (LittleBookOwl) from Booktube. 
These girls were absolutely fabulous and shined so brightly <3 they answered all the questions with humour, grace and thought. 
I loved how Kat commented on insta-love with "You don't fall in love like you fall in a ditch." So. Much. Truth. Preach.
It was so fun and heart-warming hearing all these lovely young women talk about how they got into their respective book communities, found their place, and found long-lasting friendships.

The 4 panelists + Floss

Next up, the 11 Aussie publishers (yes ELEVEN!) attending all got up and stood on stage. They were given 30 seconds to sell to us a book they published that we should all be reading now.

Read Now Books (Out Now)

Got to hand it to the publicists who all speed talked to get their 30 second marketing spiels to us. Perks to Steph from Text Publishing who finished with extra time!

Read Later Books (Upcoming)

Absolutely love the sound of The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness and I'm so excited for Winter. When Kim from Hachette talked about Asking For It and how it's about rape culture, the whole audience literally went "oooh".

Publicists telling us about their books

Book Boyfriend Battle

My favourite part!!! Each publisher got 2 book boyfriends and the rules were that they couldn't be in the same book or by the same author.

Allen & Unwin
1. Tarver from These Broken Stars (Starbound trilogy #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
2. Chris from Storm (Elementals series #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

1. Chaol from Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas
2. Aron from The Winner's trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

1. Park from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
2. Edward Cullen from the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

HarperCollins Australia
1. Four from Divergent series by Veronica Roth
2. Josh from Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Penguin Teen Australia
1. Dimitri Belikov from Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
2. Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Random House Ausralia
1, Cam from the Fallen series by Lauren Kate
2, Adam Wilde from If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Scholastic Australia
1. Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Sam Roth from The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater

Text Publishing 
1. Rafa from The Rephaim series by Paula Weston
2. Tiny Cooper from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green

Walker Books Australia
1. Jamie from Spark series by Rachael Craw
2. Jace Herondale from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Publicists during Book Boyfriend Battle (Floss in her TFIOS t-shirt)

Oh it was so fun omg. Lots of screaming and cheering. The publishers had a minute each to tell us why we should vote for their book boyfriend. I had to hand it to Scholastic who attempted to go through the alphabet for Peeta, and made it to 'R' LOL. I think PTA aka Floss had a lot of practice because Dimitri and Augustus sounded so practiced :D Again props to Steph from Text and also Kim from Hachette who both finished under the minute!

I wanted to really vote for Adam because I loved Where She Went but Chaol will forever have my heart :3

In the end it came down to these top 3:

This was where the sledging started. Basically, the publishers in the previous rounds could only talk about the good things about their own book bfs. But here, Sonia (Bloomsbury), Manda (HarperCollins Australia) and Floss (PTA) could talk shit about the other publishers' book boyfriends.

Sonia did a FABULOUS job. She was so on point, and precise. She said that Four was a moody, tempermental wuss in Allegiant who wouldn't let Tris make decisions (TRUTH) and that Dimitri was a paedophile who shouldn't be preying on high school girls (also truth). Chaol on the other hand, is loyal, honest and a constant for Celaena. SOOOOO TRUE. She sledged like a pro. Note that I do love Four and Dimiti - especially Dimitri haha but Sonia sold me here, and of course Chaol #1 <3


Can I just make a point to say that Dimitri has been around since 2007, Four since 2011 and Chaol we only met in 2012? So the fact that Chaol, who we've only had 3 years to familiarise ourselves with, was up against Dimka who's had 8 years to build a fanbase, is freaking fantastic?

Oh it was on, the cheers were intense. But Dimitri won!

And that is all for May :)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How Do You Shelve?

I've noticed in the recent months the increasing number of people that are shelving their books by colour. It's beautiful, so aesthetically appealing and I've been tempted so many times to attempt lining my books up by shade.

And yet I never do. No matter how many times I organise my shelves I just can't do it by colour. The first is that my OCD simply cannot handle having my series separated or authors not grouped together. I used to shelve by genre, then within that, alphabetically. Then there's the issue that I just don't have enough shelf space to do the colouring properly so that they all display nicely. I'd also have so many issues with figuring out shades of colour and where to put particular books.

In my latest bookshelf organisation though, I did something completely different and went against my OCD of keeping all series and authors together: I separated my shelves by read and TBR *le gasp* for those of you who don't know, I have 2 bookshelves:
1) A white one that is newer, it's about 1/3 the size of my other one
2) My black one that's got cubes on the end and takes up half a wall, the majority of my books go here
In a failing attempt to tackle my TBR I thought it'd be wise to put all the books I've read together and those I haven't read separately. Kat's suggestion was that having my series separated (those series I haven't finished) would motivate me to finish the series off!

It's somewhat working. I've put all my read paperbacks on the white shelf and all my read hardbacks at the bottom of my black shelf (I'm honestly scared the hardbacks would be too heavy for the white shelf which isn't as stable looking). I realised halfway through my shelving that I'm probably at the point where I've got more unread books than read... Yes... so now I can't even see half my TBR because they're stacked every which way. At the beginning I was doing it all alphabetically... then towards the end I just ran out of space and just went screw it.

My resultant shelves are chaos really. I haven't tried shelving my non-YA (which sit on my white shelf) and the cubes on the black shelf haven't been touched either. All these feature read and unread books.

I'm inclined to think that no matter how I shelve, it comes back to the root cause that I just don't have enough shelf space.

Some bookshelf pron for you.

Now tell me: how do YOU shelve?

If you guys want to share with me your shelving style and feature your bookshelves on my blog, send me an email (click the envelope in Links) and I'll give you more details (:

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J Maas

Firstly, thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for this review copy <3

Date Read: February 3 - 5 2015
Date Released: May 5th 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: High fantasy/fairy tale retellings
My Rating: (Not enough stars to rate)

"Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price.

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever."


“Magic – everything was magic, and it broke my heart.”

How to start review? How to review awesome? I can count on one hand the number of NA books I’ve enjoyed in the past. The bulk of NA out there is contemporary with some paranormal mixed in but NA high fantasy? You guys ACOTAR is an absolute game changer. I think this is a first. It’s got the finely crafted world of YA high fantasy, with that extra bit of edginess and seductiveness that makes it NA. You can say that this book has officially seduced me. The world needs more books like this. The world needs more Sarah J Maas. I think this woman just has magic (I’m inclined to believe she is of the fey) that she weaves into her words and stories to create worlds that just suck you in and it’s like you’ve drunk faerie wine, become entranced, never to see the mortal world the same ever again.

Nineteen year old Feyre is struggling to keep her family alive. Impoverished, she spends her days hunting in the forests while her older sisters and father uselessly sit at home, relying on her for everything. I want to punch Nesta in the face. Please Sarah, please can I? Despite how ungrateful her family is, Feyre once made a promise to her dying mother to take care of them. She leaves her childhood and innocence behind to shelter and feed them. She is cynical, determined, fiercely protective of those she loves and takes no shit from anyone. No not even you. I love how she’s got the perfect balance of bravery but she knows fear as well. The faeries are monsters and there is no point in being fearless in their presence. To do so would be idiocy. I loved the way her character is balanced – brave at the right times, showing fear in others, because if you don’t fear the faeries then you’re probably not human. As the story progresses, she makes many realisations about herself, about those around her, and we see how just what she’s willing to do for those she loves.

LUCIEN. RHYSAND. Two of my favourite secondary characters. I think of Lucien as the loyal sidekick. Protective of his master but not afraid to show his opinion, I loved his snarky comments. He made a lot of tense moments during the book fun with his witty banter with Feyre. And there is a story behind him as well. One that I’m just waiting for Sarah to tell. Then there is Rhysand. Dark, enigmatic, full of hidden motives ermagherd I always fall for the dark ones. There is more to him than meets the eye.

Now. Tamlin. Romance. Whew *fans self* Nope I need an a/c. I just. Wait nope give me a moment it’s too hot in here. Much sexy. Much steamy. This is what makes the book more new adult than YA and I want to read ALLLL the books like this. As with most of my reviews of Sarah J Maas’s books, I’m not going to say much about the romance because you just need to read it yourself. All I have to add is, she has a way of writing exquisite men.

The plot of course, is no short of fabulous. Expertly weaving fairy tale with folklore, A Court of Thorns and Roses draws on recognisable elements, yet holds its own as a story. It left me feeling the warm and fuzzies that a fairy tale brings, but also mesmerised and haunted with the chilling tale of faerie monstrosity. Beauty and the Beast has nothing on this curse. Belle’s sacrifice had nothing on Feyre’s pain. And the townsfolk have nothing on the brutality and abhorred torture methods of the High Fae.

In the face of immortals, we can see just how weak we are as humans. How fleeting we are in existence. But Maas also shows us that because we have such short lifespans, we feel so much more, love so much more intensely and will go to greater lengths to achieve our goals because our days are limited.

Throughout this, Sarah’s signature writing style shines through – even more eloquent and gorgeous than before. Through her stunning imagery, I was Feyre as she felt the landscapes being painted through her fingertips, I was trembling on the ground as my bones broke. I swam in starlight and then drank it too.

“Cauldron save you, Mother hold you. Pass through the gates, and smell that immortal land of milk and honey. Fear no evil. Feel no pain. Go, and enter eternity.”

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Do You Re-Read Books?

Hey guys! A fortnight ago I asked you if you changed the ratings of books after your initial rating. I got some interesting variations with most people agreeing they changed their ratings. 

This week, my question to you is: do you re-read books?

Once upon a time I used to re-read books ALL the time. Back before I discovered the YA community and found all these fabulous new releases, I'd be constantly re-reading Harry Potter and Vampire Academy. I've probably read books 1-4 of HP like 15 times, DH 2-3 times and Vampire Academy (books 1 and 3) like 5-6 times!

These days however, I just don't have the time to re-read a book. I feel that, because there's so much out there and have you seen my TBR pile? I can barely make a dent in that, so I just can't re-read. 

Well what's the point of buying/owning books then you may ask? While I don't re-read the whole book, I re-read my favourite parts. When I hit a reading slump, or am in need of some feels, I need a good book that can get me going again. I look to my TBR, but well... since I haven't read any of them, how will I know it's gonna be good? Hence I turn to some of my favourites and re-read my favourite bits. 

Some of my favourite re-read bits include:
  • Vampire Academy (actually, there have been a few times where I wanted to just read the opening chapter and end up reading/skimming the whole book!) and Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead (the fight scenes and cabin scene omggg)
  • Deity and Apollyon by Jennifer L. Armentrout have some amazing emotional scenes with steamy/sexytimes (; and those fights too!
  • That epic battle scene in Heir of Fire, there are heaps but there's that particular one that makes me bawl my eyes out and crack open my heart
  • The Prince's Tale and The Battle of Hogwarts from Deathly Hallows
  • The epilogue of Clockwork Princess - I save this when I'm ready for a good cry
  • Ignite Me Chapter 55 - sweet baby Jesus no explanation required
  • These Broken Stars 75% of the way through - refer to note on Clockwork Princess
What are your favourite book re-reads?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Blog Tour: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

HOLY BABY JESUS YOU GUYS. I am honoured and thrilled to be on the ACOTAR blog tour and to share with you guys my Q&A with Sarah! I've asked her some (non-spoilery) questions about A Court of Thorns and Roses and honest to God, I'm wriggling in my seat just reading her responses. I hope you enjoy! Many thanks to Bloomsbury for hosting the tour (: I'm gonna save my fangirling for my review but y'all should already know how much I absolutely adore Sarah and ALL her books. She is an auto-buy author for me. Feyre, Tamlin, Lucien, Rhysand <3 ACOTAR is AMAZINGGGGGGGGGG. Swoony, beautiful, lyrical and so full of passion. Love love love.

May 5: Perpetual Page Turner, Lili’s Reflections, & Words Read and Written
May 6: Bookish Broads, Dark Readers, & Fiction in Fiction in Fiction
May 7: Paper Riot
May 8: Polished Page-Turners, So Many Books, So Little Time , & Behind the Pages
May 11: Novel Sounds & Alexa Loves Books
May 12: Icey Books
May 13: Jenuine Cupcakes & Writer of Wrongs
May 14: What Sarah Read & Andi’s ABCs
May 15: Fiction Fare & Belle of the Literati


Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date Released: May 5th (US), May 7th (AU/UK)

Buy Links:
US - Bloomsbury, Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Nook, IndieBound, iBookstore
UK - Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury eBook, Amazon
Australia - Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury eBook, Kindle,iBookstore, Kobo, Google Play, Bookworld, Booktopia

"Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price.

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever."


Q&A with Sarah J Maas

1. Where did the inspiration to use the name “Feyre” (as “beauty”) come from? 
Honestly, I don’t quite remember, but I recall looking up alternative names to “Beauty” or “Belle” and came across “Feyre” as an old spelling of fair (…which means pretty/beautiful/etc.), and loved how it also had the “Fey” element in it. (It’s pronounced “Fay-ruh”, btw!)

2. Was it challenging to choose which parts of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale to adapt into ACOTAR, which parts would come from fey folklore and which would be your own?
No, actually. While writing, I just let my gut guide me. So if I didn’t want to incorporate certain elements of the folklore that inspired it, I didn’t include them. I thought of the book as an original fantasy with a fairytale retelling bend to it—which gave me way more freedom that clinging to a straight-up retelling, I think.

3. What made you decide on art as Feyre’s hobby?
It actually wasn’t in the first draft—the art was something that came in later revisions, as I delved more deeply into Feyre’s character. I wanted her to have some passions, some interests—something she might have suppressed for years in favour of keeping her family alive and fed. And when I read back through the book, I realized that her descriptions of things were so vivid, so bright—always full of color and texture. It was if she’d been telling me all along that art—that color and light and all of that—was where her heart lay.

4. It’s a well known fact to your readers that your books tend to get darker as they progress – how much darker will the rest of the series be? (How much will we need to steel our hearts?)
Hahaha, ummmmm. It’s so hard to say without spoiling, but I’d say yes—the books get a bit darker, but that’s because Feyre is now discovering just how brutal and dark the world of Prythian can be. (…on the plus side, lots of steamytimes ahead!)

5. How many more swoon-worthy men will you be introducing to the series? :D 
There are…two new men coming in Book 2 that I am suuuuper excited about. (And a few others that are pretty hot, actually, but don’t have as big a role to play.) I feel like the title for Book 2 should be A Court of Abs and Pecs.


Thank you so much for your time Sarah! I hope you enjoyed that everybody. How wonderful were those answers? I thought I saved the best question for last. NOW LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN FOR ACOTAR #2! But first... QUEEN OF SHADOWS! (A COURT OF ABS AND PECS THOUGH PLS?)

About Sarah

 Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows, the fourth book, will release globally on September 1st, 2015) and the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (out starting May 5th, 2015). She currently resides with her husband and loyal canine companion in Pennsylvania. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing, and a minor in Religious Studies. Sarah is represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.

Sarah's website
Throne of Glass Facebook
World of Sarah J Maas
Sarah's Twitter

Stay tuned for my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses (: