Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Court of Thorns and Roses Giveaway (AU only)


There is just a little over a month until the release of A Court of Mist and Fury, the much anticipated sequel to ACOTAR by our Queen the Sarah J. Maas. I for one am super excited for this book not just for Feyre but because of one specific darkly handsome fey *giggles*

Anywhooooo. Rhysand aside... Nah that's a lie - RHYSAND IN FULL VIEW PLEASE. Ahem.

If you haven't had the chance to read ACOTAR yet, here is your chance!

"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."

The extremely generous and always lovely people at Bloomsbury are giving away a paperback copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses, a tattoo and bookmark!

Don't forget, there'll also be an ACOTAR read-along coming up in April in preparation for ACOMAF!

Ok may the odds be ever in your favour.

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Must Read Oz Books

Helllooooooo. I guess this post has been a long time coming. When I asked my Twitter peeps for post ideas, pretty much everyone came back asking for a list of must read Oz (YA) books.

I'm pretty ashamed to say that as an Aussie I read very little by Australian authors. Please don't kill me haha. It's just the range of books from overseas authors (especially US) is so much broader and pretty hardbacks always get me. ALWAYS.  That being said, I can tryyyyy recommend you guys the few books by Aussie authors I've read.


I'm gonna split this up into genres so you can find what you're after. Every single one of these books/series got 4+ stars.


Majority of Aussie books I read are actually contemporary. Why is that I wonder? If someone can recommend me Australia's answer to Brandon Sanderson or Sarah J Maas I will go running to the bookstore right now and try their books!

All right you know it's coming so let's do it. Let's talk about all the Melina Marchetta because she is my Aussie lit QUEEN.

This is arguably my favourite Aussie YA book EVER (I can just hear Penguin Teen Australia's Gong of Choice because I said 'arguably' haha).
It's a bit hard to explain the story but it's about school wars/skirmishes - in a fun competitive way. There's a boarding school, a day school and like cadets and they come together every year and play territory wars.
The MC Taylor is bit of a take-no-shit kind of girl and the person who sort of looks after her, Hannah, disappears. Taylor finds this book Hannah is writing and is immersed in another timeline.
Wow I really suck at explaining. 
Anyway it's this beautiful book with sort of dual timelines about friendship, territory wars, family and all these secrets come spilling out. It's so heart-wrenching (when is a Marchetta book NOT?), emotional and the writing is always on point because Marchetta.

My first ever Marchetta book! This was written in 1992, like it is the same age as me. I read this when I was super young and it was my first ever foray into YA. 
This book deals with identity - and it's something pretty much all kids born these days go through: what does it mean to have parents born in another country and you're the first generation to be born here? How do we be Aussie but also continue to embrace our culture but not let it stifle us because our parents are shoving it down our throats?
It's set in Sydney and I just loved reading about the characters walking down streets and through suburbs I frequent.
There are so many relevant themes in this book. To be honest I'd say start with LFA if you haven't read Marchetta before.

Saving Francesca/The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta (YA/NA)
Melina's other 2 books set in Sydney. You can read them separately but The Piper's Son is Tom Mackee's story. The Piper's Son is freaking beautiful. I was a bit skeptical about liking Tom's story but I think Marchetta is the only writer who's managed to make me cry in every single one of her books. Tom Mackee made me cry. We meet him 3 years earlier in Saving Francesca.
Saving Francesca follows Frankie whose mother has a breakdown and suffers from depression. I thought this was such an honest portrayal of mental illness and the effects it has on the people around us. While Frankie faces the absence of her mother's humour and guidance, she's trying to fit in at a school that's just started accepting girls.
It's just this wonderful book about friendship, family, and Sydney life. 

This one has strong Marchetta vibes. I know it's not ideal to compare authors but if you like Marchetta I reckon you'll like this too! Sarah's set her story in Sydney's inner-west and I freaking loved the references to places I go to.
It's a story about 5 very different characters who are thrown together to make their Year 12 yearbook. Another great friendship story but showing characters from different socioeconomic backgrounds and lifestyles. It's accurate and relevant - teens being pressured into sex, body image, mental illness, poverty. 
TYC became so much more than just getting a yearbook out. It's one of my fav 2016 releases.

All right let's move on to Melbourne. The Every series is a Sherlock Holmes retelling set in Melbourne! Ellie is a great writer and I couldn't tell that Every Breath was her debut novel.
She does the parallels between characters really well and the plots are always interesting. While I had some problems with book 1, I found the series got better and it's a very strong series overall - especially due to Ellie's fantastic writing.
The main character Rachel (Watts aka Watson) has just moved to the city from a farm and she's trying to adjust. Her genius neighbour James Mycroft (Sherlock) is still trying to deal with his parents' death when he was a kid. Put the two together and somehow trouble manages to find them. Actually more like Mycroft goes out of his way to find trouble hah.
Each book deals with its own mystery while at the same time closes in on an overarching arc.
Get on it guys. Much fab very mystery.

This one is one of my fav contemporaries ever. It's a bit "chick lit" whatever the hell that means but that's what it says on Goodreads O_O
It's about opening a tea shop and these different women coming together from different lifestyles to achieve this. I absolutely love design and tea and this book brought the two together. A lot of it is around designing the tea shop and designing teas with slice of life drama interspersed. It's a very lovely read, quintessential and picturesque. The imagery is gorgeous. Think of those Instagram posts with flowers and tea!

High Fantasy

I would say this is borderline YA but I think it gets a bit too intense, graphic and violent later on to be really YA. 
The series is set in a steampunk feudal Japan and focuses on our girl Yukiko who has the power to speak with animals. She meets this sassy arashitora called Buruu and the fun begins. Sort of. Not really. There's a war brewing and things get messy and gruesome pretty quickly. I actually still haven't read the last book (Endsinger) because Jay knifed me in the feels with the ending of Kinslayer (THAT TITLE YO) and I just want to cry thinking about it. My body is still not ready.
So yesssss read Stormdancer it is really good!

When Melina released Finnikin of the Rock I was very skeptical - a male POV when she'd only written female and fantasy when her 3 previous books were all contemporary? Oh I was so wrong to be skeptical.
One of the most fab fantasy I've ever read. I still haven't finished Froi yet because the editions I have are freaking massive and carrying that around kills my shoulder. I'll get to it eventually lol and I know I'll love it.
Book 1 focuses on characters from Lumatere - the royal family was murdered and since then a tempest has blocked anyone from going in or out of the kingdom. Finnikin and co are on a journey to try to get back their city. Again my poor explaining doesn't do this book justice.

I grew up reading this middle-grade fantasy series as just about every other Aussie kid.
I HATE these covers. Absolutely abhor them. It's what put me off them for a long time. The covers have the most grotesque creatures/massive mutant critters and *shudders* BUT the books are so damn fabulous.
Deltora focuses on these kids who journey through the lands trying to find lost gemstones that, when put together on a belt will show the true heir of Deltora. They believe that by finding the heir, it will get rid of the evil Shadow Lord.
Good stuff.


One of my fav angel series. TVEC known as Embrace the series in the US, is a very original take on angels. 
The book centres on the Grigori who are humans with angel blood and protect mankind from angels (both light and dark) who have fallen.
There's a hot love triangle - probably one of the few love triangles I freaking adored, and it broke my heart - with lots of heartbreak, friendship and character development.
They're an extremely quick read, I could read one of these in a day. 5 books in the series, 5 days done!
I think I might love this series more than Unearthly... Big claim to make I know.

And this is my fav book by Jess! It's very contemporary in many ways except for the fact that the MC lives each twice day. At the stroke of midnight she'll wake up in another life, with another family, with different friends but still Sabine.
She tries to figure out what this means by trying out experiments and all this stuff happens. It's so gripping and at times heart breaking. Jess is an amazing writer and she also writes amazing guys sooooo yes READ THIS.

Science Fiction

Yoooo so Jay Kristoff knife my feels and Amie Kaufman breaks my heart. Put the two together and you get a freaking calamity of feels and heart slaying.
Illuminae. Is. Phenomenal. It's told through interviews, dossiers, ship plans, words twirling on pages, pages with nothing but a graphic, countdown timers. I've never read anything like this before. It's an experience. And it works. It flows. It had me on the edge of my seat. All 600 pages only took me 2.5 days to read (with work too) because time flies when you want to eat this thing.

Honestly cannot tell you how much I lust over the covers in this series.
Each book is its own story with its own couple but put them together and you get an intergalactic conspiracy.
My fav is book one (fav cover too) but every book in this series is amazing. I always get lost in the different worlds Amie and Meagan have created. There's an abandoned planet, a planet that's basically a massive bog and a planet which is a massive city. The world-building is so detailed and intricate, the characters sassy with lots of inner strength.
They're freaking immersive and funny and of course there's heart breaking moments too. 75% These Broken Stars THAT IS ALL.

Hahaha as you can tell I love anything by Jessica Shirvington. 
This one is somewhat sci-fi, set in the near future. It's about a technology that can tell us immediately who we're compatible with.
But there's conspiracy and heartbreak because that's Jess for you. And of course action-packed, pulls you in and sucker punches you.
Yup you also need this on your TBR if you haven't read it yet.

Graphic Novels/Picture Books

Anything by Shaun Tan. His picture books are not just for kids but have adult messages too! I recommend anything he's written but my favs are Tales from Outer Suburbia (a collection of short stories about quirky things that can happen in suburban life), The Arrival (a relatable story about immigration), The Red Tree (loneliness/depression).
His illustrations are beautiful and the underlying messages are so meaningful.


Well there you have it, my must read Aussie books. I know it's dominated by a few authors haha but hopefully you got something out of that and added a few books to your TBR.

Aussie authors I still need to read: Kirsty Eagar, Justine Larbalestier, Fiona Wood, Claire Zorn and Markus Zusak (I KNOW LOL I'm 1/3 of the way through The Book Thief and it's been 5 years, I WILL get there eventually). I own at least 1 book by all of these authors but I haven't read them. It'll happen. I swear.

Aussie authors I've read who aren't on this list: John Marsden, Jaclyn Moriarty, Gabrielle Tozer, Paula Weston

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Halsey Book Tag

(Image credit: Paper Riot)

Ahoy friends! I realise I haven't posted in a while (oops I did it again) and was like what am I bothered posting about since I don't have any book reviews (yet). Then I remembered that Siiri over at Little Pieces of Imagination had tagged me to do the Halsey Book Tag created by the girls at Paper Riot.

Confession: I'm actually not a Halsey fan. Like I'm only just now going through the songs on this book tag and listening to a lot of them for the first time on YouTube. Now, don't get me wrong, I've heard heaps about her and obviously know who she is (who doesn't?) but I haven't listened to her stuff much. The only song I'd heard by her is New Americana which I quite like. I'm finally listening to the rest of the stuff on her Badlands album and quite enjoying it, you'll be happy to know!

Ok let's do this. 

Be warned: this tag contains LOTS of spoilers hahahaha you are forewarned.


It's pretty obvious right? I mean as soon as you saw the word QUEEN alarm bells should have been going off in your head and you should've been thinking "oh god here we go Jaz is about to scream-" AELIN ASHRYVER GALATHYNIUS

She is the heir of ash and fire. The fire-breathing bitch queen. And she bows down to no one.

Throne of Glass series forever. If you haven't started the series by Sarah J. Maas then please, please PLEASE give it a go!


Oh my lord the Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassie Clare ahahaha. I swear to god I said I was done after City of Heavenly Fire. But then Clare goes and brings back a character I loved from The Infernal Devices into TMI and continues them as cameos in The Dark Artifices. SO HERE I AM LAST TUESDAY FORKING OUT $37 FOR A SPECIAL EDITION OF LADY MIDNIGHT. Because I can't seem to quit this world no matter what.


The Golden Trio from Harry Potter ackkkkk who wouldn't want them? Hermione's wits alone are amazing but add on Harry's bravery and Ron's support, these three are amazing. They've been through so much together and I mean what's the apocalypse when you've essentially faced it against Voldy?


Alex and Aiden from the Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. These guys are possibly my favourite ship but hell they can have some communication issues, especially in Apollyon (book 4). Aiden hides so much of his feelings throughout the series even though it's obvious to the reader how he feels about Alex. In the later books, Alex doesn't tell Aiden a lot of her own thoughts and feelings (which are crucial in leading to her actions) because a part of her thinks he won't be able to handle what she'll do or he doesn't understand. This drives this massive wedge between them at times and it's frustrating and TALK IT OUT PEOPLE.


Forever and always On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I read this book when it first came out in 2006 and HOLY SHIT IT'S BEEN 10 YEARS? Anyways, 10 years later and this book still resonates with me. All the characters, both timelines, everything that happened. It's like the book has been stamped in my brain. I haven't re-read it in years (probably 8 years?) and it's still so vivid I feel like I only just read it last week.


This is so hard but I think Tom and Tara from Saving Francesca/The Piper's Son (Melina Marchetta). Just the banter between these two in SF and then in TPS I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.


Tessa and Jem in Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3 by Cassie Clare). Sweet baby Jesus this tore my heart apart in the worst possible way. Just the way it happened unintentionally OHMYHEART IT HURTS.


Ahhhh Rose Hathaway. I love this girl, I really do. But sometimes her rash decisions and FAR OUT ADRIAN IN LAST SACRIFICE... yeh her actions sometimes make me want to shake her. (Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead.)


Adam Wilde from If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman. I've heard a lot of people say (and even Gayle herself mention) that Adam's actions in Where She Went were somewhat unforgivable. He made mistakes sure but I love all of him. I thought his decisions were sound given his circumstances and a lot of the stuff was the kind of thing you'd see other celebs do today. Idk I thought it made him so real?


CABIN SCENE IN SHADOW KISS AHHHHHHHHH (Vampire Academy #3 by Richelle Mead).

Also chapter 22 in Deity (Covenant #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout AND CHAPTER 23 IN CROWN OF MIDNIGHT (Throne of Glass #2 by Sarah J. Maas). Oh my shipper heart.


Finch from All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. This book omg. That ending. I'm still haunted by this book.


Not sure if this counts but Noah from Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. He's so destructive in the beginning with his bad boy personality but seeing him slowly be the man he is by Breaking the Rules warms my heart.


DARKLING. THERE IS NO OTHER. I will always ship Alarkling. I see them as balancing each other out and it would've been a wonderful dynamic. (The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.)


This one was so hard for me but I'm gonna say Rose Calloway and Ryke Meadows from the Calloway Sisters by KB Ritchie. Rose says she hates him to his face but honestly I think she's so grateful to him for what he does for Daisy. And well Ryke is Ryke but I reckon he can respect the way Rose tries to protect Daisy from their crazy mother.


Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. Dayummmm this was EPIC. Like I would put this in the epic fantasy category. Hodge did such a brilliant re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. The world, the way everything comes full circle, the way she characterised the Beast WOW.

I obviously love Sarah J. Maas' retelling of Beauty and the Beast in A Court of Thorns and Roses. The world-building in this is stunning but it's a lot more to the book in the way it parallels Beauty and the Beast, whereas Cruel Beauty is different and very expertly crafted so you can still see in the greater picture how it's BatB but not.


TALK ABOUT ROMITRI FROM VAMPIRE ACADEMY. Everything these two have to go through. From the get go, student and teacher? And then Shadow Kiss. AND THEN SPIRIT BOUND AND BLOOD PROMISE. And then Last Sacrifice. Yewwwww obstacles is an understatement.


Juliette and Adam from Shatter Me. Ahhh I loved these two in book 1 but by the end I was really liking Warner and then Unravel Me happened and this ship sunk and Warnette was born. OH WARNETTE.


Alarkling from the Grisha trilogy. Oh god I ship this so hard. One of my fav ships ever. I don't care, I will go down with this ship.


Thank you to the lovely Siiri for tagging me! I'm terrible with tagging people so if you want to do this, consider yourself tagged and do it! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Review: The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub

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


Date Read: February 22-24 2016
Date Released: March 1st 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Contemporary (AUSSIE YA YES #LoveOzYA)
My Rating:

"Five teenagers. Five lives. One final year.

The school captain: Ryan has it all … or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?

The newcomer: Charlie’s just moved interstate and she’s determined not to fit in. She’s just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends …

The loner: At school, nobody really notices Matty. But at home, Matty is everything. He’s been single-handedly holding things together since his mum’s breakdown, and he’s never felt so alone.

The popular girl: Well, the popular girl’s best friend … cool by association. Tammi’s always bowed to peer pressure, but when the expectations become too much to handle, will she finally stand up for herself?

The politician’s daughter: Gillian’s dad is one of the most recognisable people in the state and she’s learning the hard way that life in the spotlight comes at a very heavy price.

Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?"


I remember someone once saying on Twitter how Aussie books are much more character driven than US books which are more plot driven. Melina Marchetta definitely comes to mind and I realise it’s the character driven books I love best. After reading The Yearbook Committee I can definitely say the characters have stuck with me.

What do you get when you combine a school captain who used to be star of the soccer team, a politician’s daughter who’s overly enthusiastic, an opinionated girl who hates Sydney, the popular girl’s best friend, a scholarship student from a poor background, and shove them onto the Yearbook Committee? Unwillingness to cooperate and absolute chaos that’s what. It’s bloody brilliant.

The first character we’re introduced to is Charlie who’s moved to Sydney from Melbourne and basically hates the move and anything in Sydney. I really disliked Charlie in the beginning because she felt the need to give a negative opinion on EVERYTHING. She seemed so ingrained in her beliefs and it was like everybody else should share those beliefs or they were wrong. And she felt the need to express her ideals at every possible moment, even when it wasn’t right for the situation. On the flip side I liked that she stood her ground and didn’t let anybody shutdown her feminist views. She definitely thaws and becomes easier to be around with as the book progresses. I liked that she has her moments of weakness and it’s obvious she’s a teenage girl too who has crushes and occasionally wants to drop the tough act.

Gillian was an interesting one. She was way too enthusiastic for my liking and tried so hard to please everyone. And I think because she tries so hard is one of the reasons why people treat her as a doormat. She won’t get angry at anything anybody does to her because she wants them to like her. But this girl has such a big heart. Despite the bullying she receives from her classmates and her horrible mother who gives her hell about her weight, and a father who cares more about his votes than his own daughter, she always has a smile on her face. Gill was the one who everybody in TYC came to like and could get along with.

For once a golden boy who is actually a good guy! The school captain Ryan is a genuinely nice guy and it was no wonder he got voted in as school captain. Not just because he’s good at soccer but because he cares about his role. He took being the school captain seriously, ensuring students did the right thing and being friendly to everyone. He also takes the yearbook seriously too because the principal gave him the responsibility. If Gill was the glue that kept everyone together, Ryan was the driving force behind it all. He’s the type of guy who’s like “I don’t care what shit is between you guys, you are going to get this done.” Love people like that! And Ryan isn’t without his own troubles. He struggles with a future where the one dream he was set on has crumbled. It was refreshing to see this because most high schoolers are the reverse – their future looks so uncertain because they don’t know what to do with their lives, but there’s endless possibilities.

One of my favourite characters was definitely Tammi. I found that she had the most growth throughout the book (these tend to be my favs). She starts off as the best friend to the popular girl who silently stands around as her best friend gets whatever she wants and does whatever she wants. Tammi matures though and quickly realises her best friend isn’t as perfect as she thinks. My favourite part about Tammi is that, no matter what her boyfriend says, she won’t let herself be pressured into sex. I think it’s becoming more and more a common thing in high schools these days and for Tammi to care about her body and not give in is awesome. Ladies (and gentlemen), reminder that you shouldn’t do something because somebody else tells you to. No matter what it seems like, it’s not a race. Don’t EVER let anybody pressure you into sex (or anything really). Do it because you want to when you’re ready. If he/she won’t wait for you, they’re not worth it.

Then my favourite who probably comes in just a little in front of Tammi, is Matty. I just wanted to hug this boy, hoodie and all. I like them smart and broody. Kid won an academic scholarship into a Catholic school! And beneath the hoodie, he’s actually sweet and caring ahhh love love LOVE. Poor guy is working two jobs to support himself and his mum who’s had some kind of breakdown and is obviously suffering from mental illness. He’s tough but he’s also coming apart at the seams. It was wonderful having him as a character as a fresh lens on the rich kids at Holy Family.

We’ve also got a great cast of secondary characters. There’s the other students at Holy Family, the teachers who are definitely questionable, and this really awesome principal. Ayoub brings in diversity through the families and friends of our MCs such as Gillian’s brother, and Matty’s best friend who I adored. Mo doesn’t bag Matty out for being smart and winning a scholarship, but actually supports and respects him. There are so many more characters but you’ll just have to discover them yourself. It’s these guys who make the main characters really shine and add depth to the story.

All of this is set against the backdrop of Sydney’s inner-west and ERMAGHERD you guys this is my fav part of reading. I haven’t read a book where I had “a sense of place” (as Melina Marchetta put it at the launch) since Melina’s own books. It feels so good to read a book and know where Burwood Westfield is, to be able to picture Burwood Park, to crave El Jannah (chargrilled chicken with this amazing garlic sauce they make), to think back to my own lunch at Burger Project a few weeks ago. Just like the characters in TYC, I walked the streets of this book. And it felt like coming home. This book felt like home to me. Ayoub does the setting so freaking well it was like a character of its own.

Then we have all the issues this book tackled. Through the diverse characters we’re able to see bullying, the differences in socioeconomic background prevalent in Sydney, mental illness, disability, peer pressure for everything you can possibly think of, the pressure to do well in the HSC and what happens after, and what I believe is a growing problem in NSW’s education system – the qualifications of teachers.

All of these very relevant themes are beautifully interwoven through our five MCs into an ending that reminds you this is reality. I can’t get over the amazing characterisation; freaking top notch. Each one of these characters have left a lasting impression. The Yearbook Committee became so much more than getting a yearbook out on deadline. Ayoub managed to encompass all the moments of Sydney high school life into 320 pages – the tears, the joy, the friendships and everything in between. EVERYBODY GO READ THIS OMG.