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?