Saturday, 25 April 2015

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon Progress

Hi everyone!!!!! I'm so excited to be starting the latest Dewey's 24 hour readathon!!!!! I'll update my progress here throughout the day.

As I'm starting late I thought I'd do the Hour 0 opening Meme. Here it goes!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

New Zealand!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Hmmm, that's a hard one... It's a tie between Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I haven't planned snacks... Oops...

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I'm a slow reader, student librarian and English major who can never stop talking about books. ;)

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

Chatting with other 24 hour readathoners and having hours in which to do nothing but read!

Hour 14: Meant to do the mid event at Hour 12 but was too busy reading... Oops! Here it is now. :)

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?

I've been switching between Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman and City of Masks by Mary Hoffman - both are great.

2. How many books have you read so far?

Just Saga Volume 4 which was incredible! 

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Probably some of Pablo Neruda's poetry or the Code Name Verity eaudiobook

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

I had to go out to the mall for supplies - the quickest trip I've ever made! Other than that it's been nice and quiet.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

How I've lost track of the time! I forgot how relaxing reading for huge periods of time is.

How's everyone else going?

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon April 2015

Just quickly letting you know that I'm participating in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon tomorrow!

Here's my potential TBR. I know I'm not going to get through much of it, but I'm sure looking forward to a day devoted to reading. :D

I'll only be going for 12 hours (roughly the 7th hour - 19th hour) as I think that's as much as I can handle. So excited!!!!

Anyone else participating tomorrow? Are you a first timer like me? What are you planning to read?

Thursday, 16 April 2015

This Book Could Be Ours: Saga Volume Two by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

Second in the Saga Series
Genre: Adult, Graphic Novel, Sci-Fi, Space Opera
Published: 13th June 2013
Publisher: Image Comics
Length: 144 pages
Format: Trade Paperback
Source: Brought from my local Comic Store

Tell me more, tell me more...

From award-winning writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN (Pride of Baghdad, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist FIONA STAPLES (Mystery Society, Done to Death), SAGA is sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and horrific monsters, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters her strangest adventure yet... grandparents.

Collects Saga issues #7-12

(I've given up rephrasing blurbs for books I review. From now on all blurbs in Italics are from Goodreads.)

Why did I read this?

There's a reason why Saga is one of the most popular comics out there at the moment. It's quirky, engrossing, thoughtful, funny and full of feeeeeels. After the reading the first volume last year I knew I'd have to revisit this series soon!

What I liked:

The appearance of Marko's parents: I love how this comic now has three generations interacting with one another. I've seldom read anything that has this dynamic. It really adds an extra something to the drama that goes along with being fugitives stuck together on a spaceship.

The cast of characters never seem overwhelming: Vaughn has to balance both the fleeing family and their pursuers, which is not an easy job! Every couple of issues seems to bring another vital character on board. The narrative flow never seems stifled or forced by this. The time we spent with every character feels natural as well as relevant.

Flashbacks: Don't want to spoil too much here; they work so well!

The Artwork: I love the bold, bright colours used to bring each planet alive. I love the diversity of size, shape and race in the characters. Basically I want to cover my room with (nearly) every panel in this graphic novel.

Who might like this?

All Science Fiction and Graphic Novel fans, readers craving something different and exciting as well as people wanting to see a humorous, realistic portrayal of a multi-generational relationship.

Final Thoughts:

Maybe I should have waited until this series was finished so I could binge read it all at once... Oh well, I'm in it until the end! Now, where's the next volume for me to read??

Any other Saga fans out there? Or graphic novel lovers? 

Monday, 13 April 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Inspiring Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week book bloggers make a list about ten books around a chosen topic.

Today I'm going to let these words do all the talking.

1. "Here's what I think," I say and my voice is stronger and thoughts are coming, thoughts that trickle into my noise like whispers of truth. "I think maybe everybody falls," I say. "I think maybe we all do. And I don't think that's the asking." I pull on her arms gently to make sure she's listening. "I think the asking is whether we get back up again."

Spoken by Todd Hewitt in The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

2. "For those who don't believe in themselves, hard work is worthless."

Spoken by Maito Gai in The Naruto Series by Masashi Kishimoto

3. "People are screwed up in this world. I'd rather be with somebody screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode."

Spoken by Craig in It's Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

4. "I think everything is happening all the time, but if you don't put yourself in the path of it, you miss it."

From Just One Day by Gayle Forman

5. "Sometimes, when I have to do something I don't want to do, I pretend I'm a character from a book. It's easier to know what they would do."

From Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

6. "We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another."

From Divergent by Veronica Roth

7. "You're in the right place at the right time and you care enough to do what needs to be done. Sometimes that's enough."

From The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

8. "You're gonna miss each and every shot you can't be bothered to take. That's not living life - that's just being a tourist. Take every shot, Kate. If it's worth caring about, no matter how impossible you think it is - you take the shot."

Spoken by Clint Barton in Hawkeye Volume One: My Life As A Weapon by Matt Fraction, David Aja and Javier Pulido

9. "If I want more, I need to go and get it, demand it, take hold of it with all my might and do the best I can with it."

From On The Jellicoe Road by Melinda Marchetta

10. "Sometimes it's easy to lose faith in people. And sometimes one act of kindness is all it takes to give you hope again."

From Does My Head Look Big In This? By Randa Abdel-Fattah

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Trees of Reverie April 2015 Readathon TBR

I'm finally back! All my scheduled posts ran out while I've been hectic at Uni, but I'll get a big stash stored up again.

I was really excited when I realised that the (at the time) upcoming Trees of Reverie Readathon was to be during my break this semester. This massive event is organised about 4-5 times a year for varying amounts of time by Sarah of her blog of the same name. This one runs until Sunday so it's not to late to join in!

From the back row to the front row left to right:

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: I just finished this one today for my English paper. It wasn't for me. I liked the beginning events in Bath, but wished the story took a darker turn than it at times hinted.

Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix: I'm embarrassed to admit I've had this one sitting on my Kindle for a couple of years now! It was a lovely light fantasy set in Regency England following a young lady who dresses as a man in order to look for her stolen Emerald. 

The Annotated Alice by Lewis Carroll; edited by Martin Gardner: Another book I read for my English paper. It was nice to revisit Alice's stories' for the first time since childhood.

Chew Volume Six by John Layman and Rob Guillory: This series gets better and better with every volume! It's quirky and crazy and despite the strange premise it just works.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: I saw this book sitting on the shelf at my local library and grabbed it due to internet hype. I'm about 100 pages in and have to stop myself devouring it in one go. I love Reagan's and Dee's friendship and Reagan's growing relationship with Matt.

The Wicked + The Divine Volume One by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvin: The premise of twelve gods being reborn every ninety years in teenagers who become powerful and then die within two years both scares and fascinates me. The art is gorgeous and I'm loving all the diverse characters. I've only read the first two issues so far - looking forward to read more soon!

What are you reading right now?

Saturday, 28 March 2015

2015 Audiobook Challenge: First Quarter Update

The 2015 Audiobook Challenge is hosted by The Book Nympho and Hot Listens. It's a great way to motivate you to reach reach your audiobook goals and interact with other audiobook listeners. It's not too late to sign up!

I'm going well for this year's goal of listening to 10 audiobooks which will bring me to the end of the Weekend Warrior Level. Here's what I've listened to so far this year - reviews to come soon!

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

A well plotted, twisty thrilling steampunk fantasy which I really loved! The chalklings and Rithmatist diagrams warmed my geeky heart. I'm eagerly anticipating the sequel out in 2017.

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

This audiobook had me smiling, laughing and crying in the same chapter. I was a mess of emotions for a week when listening to it. Marchetta has broken what was left of my heart after I read Saving Francesca. I still need to get my hands on everything else she has written.

Does My Head Look Big In This? By Randa Abdel-Fattah

Amal's life as a Muslim-Australian preparing to wear the hijab full time at her public Australian high school is a thoughtful read. I loved how the author crafted Amal's voice as well as her family and friends.

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

I listened to this audiobook as my brother likes watching the TV Series. It was fun and light to listen to. I may listen to some of the other books in the series as my local library has them on Overdrive.

That's it from me! How is your audiobook listening going?

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Autumn TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week book bloggers make a list about ten books around a chosen topic.

The colder weather means more excuses to stay huddled inside in a blanket reading - I'm all for that! The first five books on my TBR are required for Uni, while the rest are my own choice.

1. The Annotated Alice by Lewis Carroll, edited by Martin Gardener

I'm halfway through this one, we're discussing it in my English Lit paper. It's interesting seeing what's different from the Disney movie from the original text.

2. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

I'm going in completely blind on this one. I know Austen wrote six books (I think?), but I've never heard anyone talk about Northanger Abbey.

3. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

My third Shakespeare play! I'm always up for reading more of the Bard's work.

4. City of Glass by Paul Auster, Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli

Again I'm not sure what this one is about. I think it's pretty awesome the lecturer is using a graphic novel as one of the texts though.

5. City of Masks by Mary Hoffman

I'm planning to reread this book to write a report on it for my Kid's Lit paper. Hoffman recently came to my area and gave a talk about her Stravanganza series that made me all nostalgic. I brought a signed copy of it too!

6. Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix

I'm reading a chapter a night of this at the moment and am enjoying it so far. Loving the combo of regency era and magic!

7. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I'm sporadically listening to this novel via eaudiobook. As a history geek I'm loving all the little details that really bring alive the World War Two setting. (I have been accidentally spoiled for Code Name Verity however which is why I'm not flying through it.)

8. Saga Volume Three by Brian K. Vaugh and Fiona Staples


9. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

I was given an illustrated copy of this short story for Christmas that I haven't picked up yet... (Oops) Chris Riddell's illustrations are as stunning as always.

10. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

I need to know what happens to Lara Jean ASAP!

What's on your Spring/Autumn TBR?

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Babbling about Books: Bookish Podcasts

Gah, I'm a bad blogger I haven't posted for about a week... Uni got the better of me for a while, but I'm swimming instead of sinking now. Let's talk about bookish podcasts!

In my last Babbling about Books post I talked about my love for audiobooks. I haven't been listening to any audiobooks for the last couple of weeks as I've been too anxious to properly enjoy them. I keep zoning out and making a mountain out of a molehole about somethings and whoops, what happened in the last chapter again??

So recently I've been listening to a couple of bookish podcasts in lieu of audiobooks, as they're shorter, are less daunting to me at the moment and are relatively new to me. Here's what I've been enjoying:

Fangirl Happy Hour is hosted by Ana from Book Smugglers and Renay from Lady Business. It's a biweekly podcast where they discuss the latest happenings in fandom, whether it be books, comics, movies, TV shows, songs etc. The conversation between the hosts is thoughtful and their banter is hilarious! There's only four episodes so far - not hard at all to catch up on.

Rocket Talk is a podcast by which is hosted by Justin Landon. Each week Justin interviews one or two guests (such as authors and bloggers) about their involvement in the science fiction/fantasy community. I've found out about a lot of intriguing books via this podcast that are up near the top of my TBR. Every now and again a short story published by Tor is featured instead of an interview.

Do you listen to any bookish podcasts? I would love some recommendations!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Three Comics on my TBR (1): The Image Comics Edition

Welcome to a new (for me) feature! There are various TBR features around the internet such as Waiting on Wednesday and Stacking the Shelves, but I've decided do my own spin on this. Recently I've noticed that there's so many books I've marked as to read on my Goodreads account (over 1000...) that the ones I'm excited are releasing soon/beloved series to catch up on/books I've really wanted to read forever but haven't had time are getting lost among the masses.

This feature is influenced by Kelly Jensen's Three on a YA Theme posts at Book Riot. However, my picks won't always be YA, the feature will happen fortnightly and will alternate between three books and three comics.

Saga Volume Two:

I read Saga Volume One last year and it turned out to be one of the best reading decisions I've ever made. Basically, two star crossed lovers whose races are fighting in a galactic war try to escape the conflict with their newborn child. It's funny and sobering and heart-breaking and touching, all in a single issue! I brought the second volume as a present for myself last year and can't believe I haven't read it yet! Though, in all fairness, it has been buried under the pile of junk on my desk...

Chew Volume Six:

I read Volumes Three, Four and Five of Chew last month (reviews coming soon!) and I'm hooked until the bitter end. I never thought be reading a book about psychic cannibals... let alone enjoying it! I really want to find out what happened during the bird flu epidemic (or if it was ever real) and need to see more of Tony's crazy family.

The Wicked + The Divine Volume One:

The buzz I've heard online about this comic is really positive. I love the premise of gods being reborn every 90 years into the bodies of teenagers, but being vulnerable in their new lives. When I was last at my local comic store I had a quick flip through and let me tell you, the artwork is GORGEOUS, especially the portraits of the characters.

What comics have you been meaning to read?

Thursday, 5 March 2015

This Book could be Ours (7): To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

First in the To All the Boys I've Loved Before Duology
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published: 15th April 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Length: 422 pages
Format: Trade Paperback
Source: Brought from Book Depository

Tell me more, tell me more...

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

(I've given up rephrasing blurbs for books I review. From now on all blurbs in Italics are from Goodreads.)

Why did I read this?

I brought this book halfway through last year while I was agonizing over the wait for Ashes to Ashes - the conclusion to Han's and Siobhan Vivian's co-authored trilogy - to release. I'd spent months reading about book bloggers praising Han's latest book so I decided to belatedly join the hype train.

What I liked:

Lara Jean's and Peter's relationship: Without spoilering too much, it was sweet seeing these two characters evolve from ex friends to allies to something more. I liked that these changes weren't too sudden and seemed natural.

Lara Jean's Family: Bascially I'm all set to pack my bags and move in to Lara Jean's household. Her dad is pretty easy going and I've always wanted sisters. I could help Kitty plot how to get a dog (I'm still trying with my parents) and hang out with Margot when she's there and be big sistered. I liked that Han showed the good and bad times with Lara Jean's family so it didn't seem unrealistically perfect.

A Diverse Main Character: Lara Jean and her sisters are Korean-American. Their biracial culture is casually entwined in the story, with details such as their American dad cooking Korean food and shoes being taken off inside their house. I also love that the model on the cover represents this.

The Cute Premise: I could totally see the whole writing love letters to boys but never sending them situation happening in real life. However...

What didn't work so much for me:

Why did Lara Jean put the boys' addresses on the envelope?!? I might just be overly paranoid here, but if you were in our heroine's shoes, would you really do that? Wouldn't you be worried someone might come into your room and find one day and post them for you?

(I know this detail was needed to make the plot work and is a very minor complaint in the grand scheme of things. It just mildly irritated me.)

Who might like this?

Those wanting a light contemporary read with an intriguing premise that focuses on a slowly evolving romantic relationship as well as the protagonist's family life.

Final Thoughts:

I can't believe I took so long to pick up this book! To All The Boys I've Loved Before was a delightful, fluffy read; I can't wait for the sequel - P.S. I Love You - to release this May.

What contemporary books have you recently enjoyed? Any recommendations?

Monday, 2 March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favourite Books in the last three years

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week book bloggers make a list about ten books around a chosen topic.

For the sake of trying not to overlap with last week's top ten favourite heroines' post (many of which are in my favourite books), I'm talking about ten different books I'd loved in recent years.

In no particular order:

1) Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Ladies and gentleman, THIS is how I like my love triangles. Such an incredible conclusion to one of my favourite trilogies.

Such beautiful, lyrical writing from Morgenstern! I wish the Night Circus was real so I could live there visit... I'm eagerly anticipating whatever she writes next.

I'm not sure if any other author could have sold me on the magic system in this book. Brandon sure brings the chalkings and chalk defenses to life in a way that my geeky heart can't resist.

4) Unwind by Neal Shusterman

The scariest, most gut wrenching dystopian I've ever read. I still remember it vividly two years on.

5) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I love Blue and her Raven Boys, their relationships with one another, their shenanigans and all the Glendower mythlogy.

6) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I spend more time than I'd care to admit wondering what murders, back stabbings and betrayals are going to occur next in the unforgettable A Song of Ice and Fire Series.

7) I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

When people ask me what my most favourite book is, this is my answer. I've forced many family members and close friends to read it. I love Ed and his friends and the mystery of the messenger. I love what he does and how he grows. I'm too scared to read The Book Thief as I don't want my love for I Am the Messenger to be eclipsed...

8) Everyday by David Leviathan

A's story fascinated and saddened me simultaneously. I love how different and out there and creative this book is.

9) The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsions

A funny and heart warming book about one man's unconventional mission to find a wife. Just the thing to read when you want a feel good story.

10) Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

The book that reminded me why I love sci-fi. The hype around it is real and the awards are well deserved.

Tell me, what have been your most favourite books in the last three years?

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Versatile Blogger Award

I've been nominated for this award by Paula. Thank you Paula!!!!

The Rules

1) Nominate 15 other bloggers relatively new to blogging.
2) Let the bloggers know that you've nominated them.
3) Share 10 random facts about yourself.
4) Thank the blogger who nominated you, it's common courtesy, and link back to their blog.
5) Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your post.

The Nominees

Can I be absolutely honest with everyone here? I don't read enough blogs to know of any relatively new bloggers like myself and I'm nearly always too shy to comment on the ones I do read. I'm working on my shyness and trying to comment on a couple blogs each day. I'll get there!

In the meantime, I nominate any relatively new blog reader reading this post. Let me know who you are so I can nominate you!

10 Random Facts

  1. I'm been obsessed with the colour yellow since I was little. It's just so bright and happy and positive!
  2. I love playing badminton and was Captain of my team for four years at High School.
  3. I have 50 books in total on my kindle and in a pile by my bed, but I can't stop getting out library books.
  4. I want to go back to Japan for the 2020 Olympics.
  5. I knit a lot as it makes me feel less stressed.
  6. I always carry mint chewing gum in my handbag.
  7. I can't roll my tongue or whistle or click my fingers.
  8. Summer is my favourite season, even when it's sticky and hot.
  9. I have seven ear piercings, but nine ear piercing holes.
  10. I'm addicted to wild berry jucies.

Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2015 Update

The Flights of Fantasy  Reading Challenge 2015 Update is hosted by Alexa at Alexa Loves Books and Rachel at Hello Chelly. Both bloggers adore fantasy novels and wanted to spread the love to other bloggers.

What I love about this reading challenge (other than it's centered around my favourite genre and hosted by two of my favourite book bloggers) is that it's straightforward to follow. You choose the number of fantasy books you're aiming for and have the whole of 2015 to achieve your goal. There are two giveaways 6 months in and at the end of the year. Check ins are optional and on the last Sunday of the month (I missed last month's as I was overseas at the time).

I'm aiming to read ten fantasy books in 2015. I'd love to read a lot more, but with starting Uni this year and being a slow reader and having already committed to lots of other reading challenges, I'm trying to being realistic. Hopefully I'll end up reading more than that, but we'll see.

So far I've read two books for this challenge: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin and The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson, both which I would highly recommend. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms had amazing world building, an absolutely unpredictable plot and incorporated diversity nicely. I'm definitely finishing this trilogy.  The Rithmatist left me wailing that the sequel isn't out until 2017; I'll have to read Sanderson's backlist in the meantime! 

Next up on my staggering fantasy TBR is Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. I'm really excited for this one as Marchetta both wowed and devastated me with Saving Francesca and On the Jellicoe Road. I can't wait to find out how she writes High Fantasy!

Are you a fan of fantasy novels? Consider joining this reading challenge!

Babbling about Books (3): Why I Adore Audiobooks (and you could too!)

I've mentioned briefly in a couple of posts before that last year I fell in love with audiobooks. Due to a busy, stressful final year of high school I'd fallen off the reading wagon, which sucked big time. Fortunately a teacher suggested that I try to listen to audiobooks and I've been hooked ever since!

Here are five reasons why I adore audiobooks:

1) They make my commute more enjoyable

Starting Monday I'll be busing to Uni for about 4 hours a week and walking to and from work about 3 hours. That's seven hours where I can't avoid the commute or get there any faster. Just as well I've found a way to enjoy it!

Listening to audiobooks during that time makes me feel productive and gives me some of my reading fix  Especially in the mornings it wakes me up and forces me to start focusing for the day so I don't miss any important details. Most importantly to me, I feel that audiobooks make my daily commute pass faster.

2) I'm making (minimal) progress on my TBR

Many readers like myself have a ridiculous amount of books they want to read ASAP, but sadly we can't read all the things at once. Audiobooks helps me chip away at my staggering TBR list on Goodreads, which I'm extremely grateful for. I'm a slowish reader and there's only so much reading my eyes can take before I get headaches for a week. Now I can wear my ears out too! ;)

3) I love being read to

I miss when my parents read stories to me when I was little. It was really soothing and comforting to hear. Now that I'm older I can listen to even more stories being read to me with (dare I say it) narrators who are more skilled at doing the different voices.

4) Audiobooks are available for free

As I'm a savvy student I love that audiobooks are avaliable for free from my local library in two formats: on CDs and on my personal device. I use the latter as I can download them onto my iPad mini via the app Borrowbox for two weeks and listen to them while I'm commuting. If your local library doesn't have eaudiobooks accessible on your personal device, sites such as Open Culture and LibriVox have a whole range of them for free.

5) I can listen to my favourite books in new formats

I often wonder whether I should go back and reread more books that I know I love instead of reading a bunch of new ones that I don't know I will love. Almost always the latter wins out as I could make a wonderful new discovery. Now with eaudiobooks I can do both at the same time!

At my local library I'm able to revisit The Mortal Instruments Series, The Keys to the Kingdom Series and The Chaos Walking Trilogy via eaudiobook. As I haven't read any of these from the start to the end for donkeys years I'm pretty excited to get onto that. I'm also curious how they'll sound with someone else narrating them to me instead of reading it in my head.

Have you ever tried audiobooks before? Why/why not?

Thursday, 26 February 2015

This Book could be Ours (6): Captain Marvel Volume One: Further, Higher, Faster, More by Kelly Sue deConnick and David Lopez

Captain Marvel Volume One: Further, Higher, Faster, More by Kelly Sue deConnick and David Lopez
First in Captain Marvel: Marvel Now! Series
Genre: Adult, Graphic Novel
Published: 21st October 2014
Publisher: Marvel
Length: 136 pages
Format: Trade Paperback
Source: My local comic store

Tell me more, tell me more...

Hero! Pilot! Avenger! Captain Marvel, Earth's Mightiest Hero with an attitude to match, is back and launching headfirst into an all-new ongoing adventure! As Captain Marvel, a.k.a. Carol Danvers, comes to a crossroads with a new life and new romance, she makes a dramatic decision that will alter the course of her life - and the entire Marvel Universe - in the months to come. But as Carol takes on a mission to return an alien girl to her homeworld, she lands in the middle of an uprising against the Galactic Alliance! Investigating the forced resettlement of Rocket Girl's people, Carol discovers that she has a history with the man behind the plot. But when the bad guy tries to blackmail Carol and turn the Avengers against her, it's payback time! Guest-starring the Guardians of the Galaxy!


(I've given up rephrasing blurbs for books I review. From now on all blurbs in Italics are from Goodreads.)

Why did I read this?

I wanted to find out more about the first woman planned to star in a film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bring it on 2018!!

What I liked:

Carol Danvers: Guys, Captain Marvel such a strong, badass, confident woman complete with realistic flaws. I love that Connick has shown that despite being a powerful superhero Danvers is 'only human'. For example the latter struggles to soothe one character and argues hotly with another over a minor matter. Her powers (which include staggering strength, the ability to fly and being able to shoot photonic blasts from her hands) are AWESOME and I love that she goes into space to find herself.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Cameo: I read this book about two weeks after first seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, so it was interesting comparing the same characters from two different medians. Starlord is a bit more mature and seemed to be slightly more of a stereotypical Marvel superhero leader. I'm happy to report that Rocket is as hilarious as ever. Sadly Gamora, Drax and Groot barely featured, so I might go and check out the latest run of Guardians of the Galaxy Comics to read more about them.

What didn't work so much for me:

This wasn't the story I wanted to read: When I brought this book, I didn't realise it was a soft reboot of the previous Captain Marvel series which launched with In Pursuit of Flight in 2011. I thought the book was going to cover briefly what she was doing before she gained her superpowers, how she dealt with them at first and then her gradual growth into being a superhero. The most I got was a one page summary of her origin at the end of the first issue.

Now, let me make it absolutely clear. I found absolutely nothing wrong with the book itself. The story is solid, the art is amazing and it's a lot of fun to read. Not knowing about Captain Marvel's character origin in depth does not in any way hurt the experience of reading this book. I believe the Marvel Cinematic Universe is no longer doing character origin films either. Guardians of the Galaxy wasn't a character origin film and I'd be one of the first to say it's stunning. My preconception of what the book was going to be was the only reason I went away not feeling quite satisfied. 

Who might like this?

Those curious to see who Captain Marvel is before 2018 who are not looking for a full blown origin story would love this book!

Final Thoughts:

This book was fun despite not being exactly what I was looking for. I think I would personally benefit from going back to read In Pursuit of Flight before reading Volume 2: Stay Fly, the latter which is coming out this April.

Do you have any thoughts on Captain Marvel?

Monday, 23 February 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favourite Heroines from Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week book bloggers make a list about ten books around a chosen topic.

This was a HARD list to make. I feel that I could have made a dozen lists on this week's topic!

1) Allyson from Just One Day by Gayle Forman

I have nothing for admiration for Allyson. It takes guts to fight depression, navigate the start of college, defy the future your parents set out for you and find yourself along the way.

2) Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Such a smart, intelligent woman who refuses to confine herself to her society's social rules unless she's happy with them. I wish I had that much sass!

3) Hermione from The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

This list would be incomplete without Hermione. She taught me to own being a nerd and unabashedly share my love of books.

4) Francesca from Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Going to a formerly all guys' school, her mother breaking down and regular family/friend relationships makes Francesca one hell of a heroine in my eyes.

5) June from The Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

A completely badass soldier girl who turns her back on everything she was taught to believe in.

6) Kami from The Lyburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan

What I love about Kami is that even when the chips are down, she's still wisecracking and keeping it positive. Also, her devotion to letting people know what's out there as a budding journalist is awesome.

7) Tessa from The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare

Without spoiling anything specific, Tessa goes through an awful lot due to her special ability. If I were in her place I wouldn't be half as brave.

8) Tris from The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

I read the first book 10 times (I kid you not) in my first year of high school exams every time I felt like giving up. Tris and her courage kept me going; I'm eternally grateful for that.

9) Viola from The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

She moves from another planet, crash lands before anyone else on her ship and has to endure everything Ness throws at her for three books. Which is A LOT. I was more scared for Viola's safety reading Monsters of Men than I was for Harry's safety reading The Deathly Hallows...

My number ten heroine was going to be Arya from A Song of Ice and Fire, but George R.R. Martin doesn't write 100% heroine characters, so I didn't know if Arya could make the list.

Who are your favourite book heroines?

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Babbling about Books (2): Why don't I read more short stories?

I'm going to start University in less than two weeks and let me tell you: I am TERRIFIED. Not just about up with the coursework and making friends. Those aren't the only issues here. How on Earth am I going to fit in my reading time!?! Of course, I'll be doing a lot of reading my papers, but I also like to appreciate books solely for enjoyment's sake.

In retrospect the idea of reading more short stories seems amazingly obvious. After all, they're quicker to read, are a good way to sample authors' writing styles and I could easily access them from places such as in anthologies at the library or published in online magazines.

I can't remember the last time I read a short story. Maybe one written by Neil Gaiman in Fragile Things a few years back?? Which is rather apt as it was a friend pointing out a passage in his latest short story collection Trigger Warning that inspired this post:

"This is my third collection of short fiction and I know just how lucky I am... The wisdom in publishing is that short story collections don't sell. All too often short story collections are viewed as vanity projects or are published by small presses, are not seen as real in the way that novels are real."

I confess, I've never paid for a short story, a short story collection or a short story anthology. Being a savvy student I tend to utilise the library and if I want something that's not there put it on my birthday/Christmas list for my relatives which I may or may not get. The latter has always been novels as there's ALWAYS a trilogy/series for me to catch up on/finish off and debut authors to check out... It's a rather relentless cycle which I need to sort out.

Also, I've never heard anyone in real life get hyped about short stories. For me, books on my never ending TBR pile go up to the top when I hear people gush about them. Internet, I adore the book community, do not get me wrong! I love reading book blogs, watching Book-tubers, interacting with fellow book lovers in the comments etc. I also think it's beautiful experiencing peoples' thoughts and reactions to what they've read first hand.

To go back to the benefits of short stories, Gaiman mentions one I had forgotten about:

"For me, the short stories are the places I get to fly, to experiment, to play. I get to make mistakes and to go on small adventures."

When I get the courage to write creatively, I challenge myself to craft short stories for the same reasons as Gaiman. (Well, that and I have no idea how to write a book...) I don't mind rereading my work when I edit them as it's pure fun. 'Nothing's going to come of it, no one's going to ever read it,' I tell myself. 'It's just a short story!'

But see, that's where I'm wrong. Short stories and short story collections and short story anthologies are still around. In fact, is launching a novella imprint. Fanzines are reinventing themselves as semiprozines to give this story form new avenues.

So short story writers and readers, keep letting me know you're out there.

I'm coming to join you!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

This Book could be Ours (5): The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

First in The Inheritance Trilogy
Genre: Adult, High Fantasy
Published: 25th February 2010
Publisher: Hachette Book Group Orbit
Length: 427 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: My local library

Tell me more, tell me more...

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.

(I've given up rephrasing blurbs for books I review. From now on all blurbs in Italics are from Goodreads.)

Why did I read this?

Internet hype is to thank for me picking up this book. I kept reading again and again on what felt like nearly every book blog that the trilogy is amazing and decided to find out for myself.

What I liked:

The story felt fresh and original: Sometimes it's hard finding new takes on high fantasy. The same old troupes can be dragged out time after time after time: for example, an orphan from a secluded village is fated to be the saviour of the kingdom in the battle between Good and Evil. Now, don't get me wrong: I like these elements in High Fantasy, just in moderation. I need some variety in the genre so it still feels exciting and intriguing.

This is why the genre needs imaginative authors like Jemisin who offer their readers something that's not the norm. Imprisoned Gods, a floating castle suspended within a tree in the sky, morally grey characters with hidden agendas... Need I go on?

Yeine: I have nothing but admiration for the main character. She fights back against being a pawn, does her best to protect her people and struggles with the grief of recently losing her mother. Despite being plucked out of Darre into the manipulative court of Sky, Yeine remains herself: a strong but screwed up character (such a believable combination) struggling to survive.

Hell Yeah Diversity: Yeine and the Darre are dark skinned. A couple of the Gods are suggested to be bisexual. This is perfectly ordinary in the book, as it should be treated as in real life.

The politics: It was interesting to see how becoming prominent in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms caused Yeine to create and change her relationships with her family, the Gods, Darre and its neighboring countries. Each of these aspects are addressed by Jemisin skilfully peeling away the layers and masks the characters hide their intentions behind. Usually I prefer high fantasy with loads of swash buckling skirmishes, but in this case the politics were just as good.

Who might like this?

Fans of High Fantasy looking for a strong, believable female character struggling in an unpredictable political environment with original world building.

Final Thoughts:

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was a fantastic introduction to Jemisin's writing. I'm eager to pick up the next book in the trilogy when I next feel the inclination to read some high fantasy.

Have you read any of Jemisin's other books?

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Related Problems I Have

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week book bloggers make a list about ten books around a chosen topic.

This week: Top Ten Book Related Problems I Have 

Oh yes, I can write a long list about this topic! I'm going to stick to ten though as to over-humiliate myself... Complete with gifs from The Newsroom as I can't stop watching it! IT'S. SO. GOOD.
(That's what I've been doing the last week as I've been in a bit of a reading/blogging slump)

1) Coming home from the library with more books even though I have heaps of my own to read.

2) Starting yet another trilogy/series when I've got a RIDICULOUS amount already started.

3) Getting hyped about new books in a series or trilogy coming out when I haven't read the first book.

4) Freaking out at my out of control TBR on Goodreads.

5) I am in NO WAY a fast reader and I WANT TO READ ALL THE THINGS AT ONCE

6) Being a picky mood reader.

7) Always thinking about the next book I'm going to read.

8) I make friends and family escort me pass bookstores so I won't go in and buy anything.

9) Book hangovers are BRUTAL.

10) Feeling guilty if I have free time and I'm not reading.

(All gifs are from Giphy)

Do you have similar book related problems to me?

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes to Romance In Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week book bloggers make a list about ten books around a chosen topic.

This week: Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes to Romance In Books

I had to think about this one! I've gotten to the point where I'm pleasantly surprised when there isn't a romance in a book. It's something I've come to take for granted. In no particular order:

What I Like:

1) When the couple are friends first:

I love reading about how the main character and the love interest meet, become friends, crush on each other and then get together. It's nice that the love interest get to know you about who you are as a person first.

2) Adorable Meet Cutes

Do these ever happen in real life? I can dream I guess...

3) The Slow Burn

This one applies to trilogies and series. I don't mind the gradual development towards two characters forming a relationship if it's really well written and not the sole focus of the plot.

4) When it doesn't work out, but they part on good terms

Bonus point if they're still friends.

5) Diversity

I want to read about romances between book characters who range in their sexual orientations and ethnicities. Variety is needed!

What I Dislike:

1) Insta Love

I don't think I need to explain this one...

2) Cheating

It might feel good having an affair at the time, but is it really worth hurting a loved one?

3) When the Romance is half hearted

There's no point in writing a half hearted romance into a book when it doesn't fit into the story just because romance appeals to many readers. If you're going to include it, it has to be done well.

4) Stockholm Syndrome

It freaks me out. The end.

5) Arrogant Love Interests

I find over confidence extremely irritating. Character, how big your ego must be to be that full of yourself!

What are your likes/dislikes when it comes to romance in books?

Monday, 9 February 2015

#AYEARATHON: Diversity Wrap Up + 2015 Dive Into Diversity TBR

I'm happy that I achieved my goals for this readathon of finishing reading  the second half of To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (about 200 pages) and listening to the audiobook of Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah (about 7 hours). These two books count towards the 2015 Dive Into Diversity Reading Challenge, which I've now read 4/12 books for!

Here's a few more diverse books on my radar I hope to be reading shortly:

1) Adaption by Malinda Lo

Lo compares the book's plot to an episode of The X Files and there's a bisexual love triangle. Usually I can't stand love triangles (unless they're really well executed), but I'm happy to take a shot at this one!

2) Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

I've heard a lot of buzz around this book. I think I'll find it difficult to read with the sadly historically accurate racism. The romance sounds intriguing though.

3) Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

One of my goals this year reading wise is to finish reading a few series. The ending to Unravel Me was quite open - I have no idea of what to expect next!

4) The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

"Silk-draped airships, soaring battle kites, conspiring goddesses, underwater boats, magicial books". How could I not want to read this??

5) Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

This has been sitting on my Kindle for far too long....

6) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I've heard a lot of buzz about this book as well. Scholars and Deception are the equivalent of book catnip to me, as is the description of, "a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world".

7) The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Shamefully this was recommended to me about six months to go and I still haven't read it... Patroclus' story will most likely bring me to tears.

8) The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

I need to know more about Yeine and Nahadoth and Sieh and the world surrounding Sky ASAP.

9) P.S. I Love You by Jenny Han

Only round about three months before I can get my hands on more about Lara Jean, Margot, Peter, Josh and Kitty!

What diverse books are on your TBR?