Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Crikey! I Need Help Guys


As part of the fun of participating in the 2012 Aussie Author Challenge hosted by Joanne at Booklover Book Reviews, I entered a contest to name the cute little koala mascot. The person whose name gets the most votes wins a book from the Book Depository.
         My entry is the very obvious but I think very apt offering of Steve after the late great Steve Irwin. My husband and I had the pleasure of seeing one of his crocodile shows at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast of Brisbane back in 2002 and he was as bubbly and outgoing as he was on TV.
        Anyway, that's beside the point really. What I'm getting at is that it would mean a lot to me if you guys would hop over to the Booklover blog and vote for my entry. I would be eternally grateful.

2012 Ebook Challenge


First off, big thanks to Jessica at Thoughts At One In The Morning for bringing this challenge to my attention. The 2012 Ebook Challenge is hosted by Sarah at Workaday Reads. The rules of the challenge are easy. You just have to sign up and choose what level of the challenge you will be participating at. I am going to try for level 2 which involves reading at least 10 ebooks for 2012.
      I feel a little guilty writing this post and participating in this challenge because I am the worlds worst ebook reader. I've been an avid book lover for so long and have always touted that print books are better, but in the last few months there's been a shift in my life. Suddenly ebooks are starting to look better and better.
          There are so many great indie books that are only available as ebooks, the ereader is light and carries hundreds more books than my bookshelves can and let's not forget that I get quite a few review requests for ebooks and I am notoriously bad at keeping up with these reviews. So this is a way for me to do that. I can't wait to start!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

2012 Aussie Author Challenge


The Aussie Author Challenge is hosted by Joanne of Booklover Book Reviews and it's been going on for about 3 years now. I only discovered this challenge halfway through 2011 but I intend to take up the challenge every year from now on. The rules of the challenge are easy and can be found HERE. As an Aussie, my goal is to read and review 12 books by at least 6 different Australian authors.
        I think it's pretty safe to say that I didn't have the slightest clue how many wonderful Australian books there are out there until I stated doing this challenge and it's opened up a whole new world of book discovery. Already I've been keeping my eyes out and have come up with a good list of books to be read. So far I've come up with the following:

1. Muse by Rebecca Lim
2. The Sending by Isobelle Carmody
3. Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
4. Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington
5. Bloodsong by Rhiannon Hart
6. Gamer's Quest by George Ivanoff
7. Blaze of Glory by Michael Pryor
8. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

That's all I can think of so far. I'm sure more will come up once the shortlists for book awards start rolling in but for now that's enough to get me started. Wish me luck guys!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld


The Story:
Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men. Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered. With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever. - From Goodreads

My Thoughts:
This book should get top ratings just for creativity alone. Although some of the ideas are biologically impossible regardless of the alternate history factor, I found that I could easily suspend disbelief because of the sheer genius of the creations. Leaving aside my crazy biology obsession, Leviathan was a great read in so many ways.The story was told in the alternating POV's of Alek and Deryn and whilst normally, I tend to prefer the voice of one character, both MC's voices were distinct and their stories equally enjoyable.
       One of my biggest fears when starting this book and based on the incredible cover was that I wouldn't be able to really understand the technology. This is always a big concern of mine when I read steampunk or sci-fi. Thankfully, the complex world building was conveyed quite well and I was able to enjoy the awesomeness of it all without being jarred back into reality by concepts I couldn't fathom. 
        Leviathan is light on the romance side but there's a hint of it towards the end which speaks of more to come later in the series. My one small issue with the book is that I felt like the author leaned very heavily on the side of the Darwinists and I would have liked for a more balanced portrayal of the opposing technologies.
        Overall, I really enjoyed reading Leviathan and look forward to continuing the series.


The Rating:
8.5/10



Tuesday, 13 December 2011

December NaNoWriMo Follow-up.


It's been almost two weeks since NaNoWriMo and I wish I could say that I've been busy finishing off my story and editing and all that writerly goodness. Instead, here's the real deal: I HAVE DONE NOTHING.
      Besides occasionally looking at the November timetable that Jessica from Thoughts At One In The Morning made for use during NaNoWriMo and feeling mildly motivated to send Cathy of Abnormally Paranormal Reviews some chapters to critique, I've been a bit slack. On the other hand, after the crazy month that was November, I think I deserved a break. It's just that said break is now turning into a very long and unproductive vacation and without the looming deadline to keep me on track I fear that my story is heading into oblivion. But it's Christmas! I hear you all saying....yeah I know! Which is why I've decided to set myself some easy goals to make me feel as if I'm being productive and then the rest of the time can be for me going crazy with Christmas decorating and cookie making.
     I've done some simple math (the only kind I am capable of these days despite the Asian genes) and have decided that I'll probably have to write another 40,000 in order to finish the book properly. If I set a goal of 1000 words a day, I should be finished by the end of January 2012. This gives me a lot of leeway for additional writing because I have two weeks off over the Christmas period.
     What about you guys? How are you going with your NaNo projects now that it's all over?
     

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick


The Story:
For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel. For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.


My Thoughts:
I've been sitting here trying to think of a way to review this book. I really wanted to love it, but unfortunately for me, it fell into the category of books that I don't especially love but I didn't totally dislike either. I find these the hardest to review because there isn't anything which distinctly sticks out to make me like or dislike it.I picked up Hush, Hush because I watched Dogma a few weeks ago and it occurred to me that I haven't read many angel themed books in my time. Given the glowing reviews it has received on Goodreads, I figured I couldn't go wrong.
        I've read a lot of reviews which liken Hush, Hush to Twilight and truthfully, I could see where these reviewers are coming from. There's a lot of the same Twilighty stuff going on in Hush, Hush and besides a semi mystery subplot that really isn't developed very much, for me it felt like the exact same book plot wise. There are also a few loose ends that I didn't think were tied up very well, but I'm willing to overlook those because this is a paranormal romance and that's what takes centre stage.
And now on to my favourite topic:
        
Characters:
Nora: Too Stupid To Live. I really enjoyed Nora's voice and seemingly normal girl personality.Up until the point where she does the one thing that kills a heroine for me. The "he's dangerous and I know I should stay away from him because he could kill me, but gosh darn it, he's just so hot and for some reason I feel safe around him." <insert a string of expletives here>. There were times when I had to put the book down because some of the things she did just completely baffled me. It's a testament to Fitzpatrick's writing skill that I didn't immediately stop reading. Despite Nora's defects, I don't dislike her the way I do Bella Swan so she falls into the category of clueless heroines who I don't really care for but don't want to be murdered.


Patch: Again I can't decide if he fits into the stalker guy category or if he was the one who saved this book for me. As a character, he at least did what it was he was supposed to do: brood, add sexual tension and be an arrogant jackass. I liked that he stuck to his guns and didn't turn into some lame puppy after his feelings for Nora came to light. Even if I didn't understand where these feelings came from.

Vee: Who needs enemies when you have friends like this? Ones who think nothing of embarrassing you with their awkward outbursts and who insist on believing you're deluded rather than that the guy they like could possibly be a violent sociopath. I'll stick to being a loner thanks. 


Now that I've totally violated my 'I'm going to be professional with my reviews' resolution, I will go ahead and say that the angel mythology was interesting and the writing well done. I liked that Nora had a good relationship with her mum and didn't disregard her because she thought Patch was some kind of omnipotent hot guy. Overall, Hush, Hush was a quick and easy read and I would recommend to those who like a paranormal romance. I'll even go so far as to say that I wouldn't mind reading the sequel.



The Rating:
7/10

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Classics Reading Challenge 2012


The Classics Reading Challenge is a reading challenge being hosted by Jessica at Thoughts At One In The Morning. The rules are simple:

1. This challenge starts January 1st 2012 and ends December 31st 2012.
2. All books read for this challenge can be counted toward all other reading challenges.
3. All books chosen for this challenge must be books you have NEVER read or NEVER finished that were written prior to 1980.
4. Choose a level or number of books you would like to read.
5. Create a sign up post for your blog including the Classics Reading Challenge picture above and the books you would like to read (you can change your mind at any time).

I've always struggled to read the classic classics (Shakespeare, Dostoevsky,Dickens) but I figure some of the modern classics should be too hard. Still, I know this will be a difficult challenge for me so I'm going to give myself a break and will participate at level 2. This means I need to read 4-6 books. At the moment these are my picks:

1. Anne of Green Gables
2. Catcher in the Rye
3.Great Expectations
4. Sense and Sensibility
5. A Little Princess
6. ?

This is one of only two challenges I'll be doing this year so I'm going to make it count! Am a bit excited about 2012 now...

Monday, 5 December 2011

Team Nice Guys


This post is a direct result of my ever growing DNF pile and also from last week's Follow Friday topic on pet peeves. Amongst the many pet peeves that popped up, I think the one that resonated with me the most is the stalkerish hot guy who is fast becoming a staple in YA books. I'm not sure if said guy is just a sure fire way to sell books or it's an alarming trend towards a mainstream acceptance of such behavior. Either way, it scares me.
       Let's start out by defining this stalker hot guy archetype. Stalker guys' general qualities are:

-really really ridiculously good looking (I'm talking Derek Zoolander style);
-spends a lot of time watching the heroine sleep and thinks nothing of breaking into her house to do so;
-feels that it's perfectly fine to control all aspects of the heroine's life because he knows what's best;
-is not above forcing the heroine to do things against her will, even if she protests;
-is disdainful and rude to the heroine's friends and family but is forgiven because he's  misunderstood (plus he's hot!);
-may literally be out to kill the heroine until suddenly falling in love with her for reasons unfathomable;

I have to point out that there's a difference between stalker guy and the more palatable jaded bad boy types, or even in some instances, the anti-hero guys. The latter are guys who don't necessarily play by the rules, but their hearts are in the right places and they have some measure of respect for the heroine to let her make choices for herself. Let me also add that books with stalker guys in them tend to have heroines who are too stupid to live and this adds to the proliferation of the lie that stalker hot guys are attractive and should be nurtured instead of tasered.
      Maybe I'm just reading way too much into it (I've been known to do this a lot!) but I visited almost all of the bloggers that linked up to the FF post last week because I was so interested in the subject and you know what? Many bloggers said their pet peeve was the stalker guy and yet, their blogs were littered with 4 and 5 star reviews for books with stalker guy as the male hero. I just don't get it.
       Either way, it makes me really appreciate books that don't use stalker hot guy as a selling point. Top marks for Lend from Paranormacy, Daniel and Jason from Telesa, Ryan from Raw Blue and all the boys from Jellicoe Road. In fact, if I sat down and wrote a list, I bet I could come up with so many more names of boys who deserve to be read about. These are the kinds of boys that I want to get to know. Stalker guys need not apply. Unlike your silly heroines, I don't think you're too hot to dismiss.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

NaNoWriMo Fallout!

This post is a very belated companion post to the one by Jessica at Thoughts At One In The Morning. I hope you don't mind my highjacking the post a bit Jessica :) I'm a bit brain dead at the moment.
         The good new is that I did it! November was going to be an insane month anyway regardless of NaNoWriMo. I had two weddings that I was heavily involved in, work was (and still is) complete bedlam and to top everything off, I was sick for a big chunk of the month. Still, I forced myself to find the time to write. Sometimes I'd spend whole weekends in front of the computer at the expense of friends, family and household chores. Take away was as familiar sight and I missed out on a lot of good TV. But the result is that I pushed past the 50,000 word limit and won at approximately 11:24pm on November 30th!! Woohoo!!
         NaNo has officially been over for three days and the effect is quite noticeable. I don't wake up with an impending sense of urgency or the uncontrollable urge to disregard all else but my writing. In a way it's a bit of a relief. In another way, it's really killed my momentum. So anyway, here comes the discussion on all the things I've learned:

The Good:
Without the motivation of NaNo I wouldn't have even started my novel. I keep mentioning this point because I know it's true. Usually, I suffer from a complete case of being overwhelmed by an idea to the point where I know what I want the ending to be but have no desire to go on the journey. NaNoWriMo essentially solved this problem for me. The constant pressure to keep writing ensured that I pushed past the proverbial glass wall and once the writing started it usually flowed well. The other amazing thing about NaNoWriMo is the feeling that though I was sitting cramped in my study all by myself, all over the world, other writers were doing the exact same thing and that was really comforting.

The Not So Good:
I think the pressure of making word count made me a little sick. On top of the constant cold I already had. Mostly this is due to my poor planning. I spent a great deal of time being excited about NaNoWriMo and much less time planning what I was going to write or preparing a proper plot. On the physical side of writing, sometimes I couldn't sleep because all I could think about was my story and sometimes my back really hurt from hunching over so much.

Other Observations:
-At one point, when I was 10,000 words behind with only two days to go, I considered giving up. My brain had accepted that it wasn't going to happen. My husband said it was a good effort with everything that had happened and I thought so too. Yet I continued to sit in front of the computer regardless and wrote and wrote and wrote. Lesson learned: obsessiveness pays off sometimes.
-My spelling and grammar are atrocious. Seriously. To the point where I will no longer call myself a writer. I'm a story teller masquerading behind an established and accepted means of telling said stories. Thank goodness for spell check and Google.
-No matter what I do, I cannot write a proper love triangle. Even if the characters want to go that way I just can't write two distinctive male leads. Am now contemplating a very early death for one of these guys.
-And finally, unlike other hobbies I've enjoyed only to find I hated when I tried to turn them into a business, I love telling stories. Despite the sleepless nights, the sickness, the physical discomfort. I love it.


The Verdict:
It was a wild ride. Would I do it again? For sure. Now that I'm a veteran, I know what the score is and will be much better prepared. Next year I'm going to be crazy and see if I can write an entire novel (some 80,000 words usually) in one month. I'm going to be good and start planning for it very early on indeed.

To all my fellow NaNos, whether you did or didn't win, it's been an awesome experience and I'm grateful for all your support. To all my blogger friends, thanks for putting up with my sporadic posts and comments. I feel somehow wiser all of a sudden.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Follow Friday (15) - Pet Peeve Paradise

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkie and Alison. It's a really fun way to get to know other bloggers and pick up a few new followers on the way.


This weeks question is: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don't like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it.

This is my first FF back in a while and I'm so glad this is the question this week. It feels like I haven't been able to finish a book in a month because they all seem to be cut from the same annoying cloth. Anyway, enough rambling and on with the pet peeves. I have so many but here are my top ones:

1. Star crossed lovers. I know it's a classic, but it's just so overdone.I'd love to read a book where two people fall in love and it's okay for that to happen.

2. Weak, selfish, stupid heroines. This category includes such things as: the heroine not knowing she has feelings for someone despite all the clear signs, the heroine believing her love interest to be infallible despite them not being old enough to even drink legally and disregarding their friends/family and the worst one, the heroine not having zero backbone and just letting things happen to her. 

3. Heroes who are allowed to be creepy/stalkerish/controlling and somehow still get the girl. This just doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever. If it's not okay to stalk someone in real life, it's not okay just because you are supposed to be some kind of overprotective vampire/werewolf/angel.

Wow, I didn't even realise how many pet peeves I have until I started to write. This is a great question and I'd love to hear what you guys think! Have a great weekend all. 

Monday, 28 November 2011

Misc Monday: Post Planning


Those of you who read my blog regularly may have noticed the utterly random schmozzle that I call blog posts. Whilst gluing together words to make sentences with some meaning, I started to wonder how so many of you manage to write such fun, succinct, informative and unabashedly honest posts and reviews.
     Normally, I'll come home from work and after counting off the days until the weekend I'll remember that I should try and stick to my blogging promise of at least one post every 2 days. What follows is a frantic dash to try and write a readable post in between watching various cartoons and unmissable TV.
     I've read a great many reviews during my long stalker hours and I really hope that the bloggers who write such reviews have spent a long, long time on them. If not, I think I need to reevaluate my commitment to this blogging business.
    As with everything I do, my intentions are always good. I fully intend to read books objectively and write super professional and unbiased reviews. Somehow, in between the reading and the review, my emotions get involved and what comes out is usually a list of all the things that irked me about a book. There are so many bloggers who can dislike a book and yet convey their dislike in a logical and a unemotional way. This doesn't seem to be my forte.
     After many hours of dissecting the reasons behind my apparent lack of professionalism, I've come up with these explanations:

1. I am not a professional critic: Nor do I intend or claim to be. I read books and write how I feel about them. Once upon a time, I analyzed books as part of a subject at school and it ruined many classic books for me forever. Until someone decides to pay me a full time salary to read and write book reviews, I maintain that I can be as unprofessional as I like.

2. I like reading negative reviews: Good reviews are fantastic, but let's face it, negative reviews make us laugh. I find that I learn so much more from a negative review than I do from a positive one, simply because when people don't like something, they tend to be much more passionate and colourful in the choice of language and depiction. Super professional reviews don't have the same pizazz for me.

3. Time is of the essence: I like to procrastinate. It's taken me almost two hours to get this far in the blog post because I've been looking at FB, Goodreads, NaNoWriMo and doing various other things to waste time. Before I discovered the dot point review system, it would takes me ages to finish a book review because I was so busy trying to write a Pulitzer prize winning essay. This is not effective time management.


4. We don't need no education: There have been times in these last few months when I've felt as if reading and blogging have been part time jobs on top of the full time one I already have. This is a big no no for me. I don't ever want reading to be a chore like school was for me, so if I have to give up professionalism for fun, then so be it.

5. Supply and demand:  Sometimes, I see all the review books and requests that other bloggers get and feel a bit envious. These times, I wonder if I too could be reaping the ARC rewards if I put a little more effort into my reviews and posts...then I look at my TBR pile.

How about you guys? Do you ever struggle to write professional sounding reviews? Do you put off writing reviews because you don't think you can say what you want to without sounding like you're ripping into a book? Please tell me I'm not the only one!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

M.I.A

Hey guys,

You may have noticed my lack of blogger presence these last few weeks. Wish I could say it's all due to exciting things happening in real life, but mostly, I've been sick a lot and getting behind on all sorts of things (NaNoWriMo, work, chores, reading etc).
        I'm playing major catch up a the moment but I hope to be back on track soon. Thanks for bearing with me. Hope you all had a great thanksgiving. Or as we Australians call it, just another Thursday (Can you tell I have holiday envy?). At least Christmas is just around the corner.

Lan

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Writer's Corner: Description Disasters


Most of my regular readers will have caught on by now that I'm currently in the throes of NaNoWriMo. See THIS POST for a snippet of what I'm writing. I've been using the placeholder technique that I learned from BJ at Dark Side of the Covers like mad, but one thing that still stops me in my tracks is character description.
      Apparently, I suck the big one at describing how people look without making it sound like one big list of vital statistics. Hair, eyes, build, sense of humor/lack thereof. In that order. Every time. It's like I can't go on to write anything else until I've gotten those few details out of the way. They're not even done in any creative way. They're just handed to the reader, as simply as possible and then I can move on.
       Now I'm not the most analytical reader but even I know this kind of listy character description is jarring to read. There are certain book I've read which do the description thing so well. They liken someones features to something in nature, the colour of their hair or eyes to the seasons. All I can come up with is green eyes looking like a forest something or rather and even that has me gagging.
        Sometimes, I'll look at some pics of actors I think will be great to be cast as one of my characters, but even then it's not that helpful. Besides, Ben Barnes can only play so many characters at once.
        So this week, I want to know how you guys come up with the various ways to describe your characters? For you avid readers out there, are there certain ways you like/dislike your characters described? Do you like for a characters vital stats to be given to you right away or for their physical attributes to be slowly divulged? Until I get some insight, it's back to 'black hair framed his sharply angled face where forest green eyes sat staring at me.' Puke.

Oh and for you guys doing NaNoWriMo this year. You've got to check out this post by Ashley at Book Labyrinth. It's got all the info regarding a YA Novel Writing Comp where you can win the opportunity to submit your work to a top NY literary agent plus heaps more! I'm going to enter for sure!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Novel, Interrupted


As an unpublished writer, I firmly believe that there will come a time when you happen across a novel which sounds so much like yours, the plot of Single White Female will flash before your eyes and you start going into panic mode. (Okay, so I just made this theory up because it's a great lead in for this post but let's not get bogged down in the specifics, I am having a freak out after all!)
        This very thing happened to me a few days ago. I was blog stalking and going through my dashboard looking for posts that looked interesting and then I came across This Book. It's called Genesis by John G. Hartness and it's so much like Iron Willed that I'm starting to have a conniption.  Sure the style and voice are different and the setting is across the globe but at the end of the day, 'a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,' right?? (You know things are bad when I start quoting Shakespeare).
        I know what you guys are thinking, no two novels will ever be the same because no two writers write the same way. But let's face it. As a writer, when you're squirreling away all those little words, you know you're secretly thinking that the story you're writing is 100% unique. So it comes as a shock when you find out that there are other people who have watched X-men, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and various anime who will most likely be thinking the same thing as you.
         So my question is: Have any of you guys ever found a book so closely matched with your own that you wonder if the other author has secretly found out about your idea and just written a story faster than you?  Have you ever given up on an idea because it seems as if the market is saturated with books like your own? Do you ever feel like you are running out of time to write because you want to be the first one with a great idea? Come on people. Freak out with me!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

November Giveaway Hop Winner!

Thank you to all those who took the time out to participate! I had such a great time hosting this giveaway! And now without further ado, the lucky winner is:


Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
216 
Timestamp: 2011-11-13 02:38:46 UTC

For those of you who can't be bothered counting the entries, the winner is Brenda Demko! Congratulations Brenda.

Thanks again everyone!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Writer's Corner: Let's Not Talk About Sex!

A few weeks ago, while at work, I suddenly came up with a new book idea that I've since been tossing around in my head. It's going to be an adult paranormal, which I have to admit isn't a genre that I'm overly familiar with. But I was thinking that it can't be all that different right? Just take my MC and add five to ten  years to her age. After all, if I'm going to start reading adult books, I should try to write adult books as well shouldn't I? Then I remembered that pesky sex thing.
        Whilst I haven't read a huge number of adult paranormals, the ones I have read can get a bit hot and heavy. In fact, when the heroine isn't kicking ass, she tends to be doing something else with it. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a bit of bedroom action in my books. Sometimes it gets a bit annoying when there is so much tension in a young adult book and no follow through.  
        It's just that I am not good at writing great romances and as an extension of that, I am not good at writing sexually charged scenes.  Granted I haven't really tried, but even  the tiny bit of romance in my young adult novel had me cringing a little. Like when you're watching a movie with your parents and there happens to be a sex scene. I don't know about anyone else, but this whole situation makes me feel terribly awkward.
        Have you guys tried writing any sexy scenes in your books? If so do you have any tips?
     

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

NaNoWriMo Update and Excerpt


By the time this post is published, I'll probably be well into the ninth day of NaNoWriMo. To say that it's challenging would be the understatement of the year. My fingers hurt from typing eleven hours a day (my job involves a lot of typing), my brain hurts from thinking for at least five of those eleven hours, my back hurts from bad typing posture and to top it all off I am NOT making word count (due to busy social life. Ha!). Besides these gripes, I'm having a great time. It's such fun to write and also to be able to connect and share the experience with other writers. I'm yet to pluck up the courage to go to a write-in close to my place but am hoping to do so in the near future.

To show that I haven't been slacking off, here is a short summary and excerpt from the first chapter of Seeder's Poison:

Summary:

Aurora (Rory) Gray knows only one truth: There are no good Seeders. Six years ago the Seeders killed Rory's mother. Now they are withholding seeds and supplies from Region 4, because one starving farm boy couldn't help but take fruit from an abundant harvest. The Seeder's Rules are simple. Nine citizens from the offending region must make the journey to the Citadel where they will be rewarded with enough seed and food to last the coming year. Whether they make it there alive is another matter.
       Chosen for the Wanderer half that she has been shunned for her entire life, Rory must make the journey through uninhabitable terrain, unimaginable terrors and unspeakable truths to pay back a debt that has been plaguing her for longer than she cares to admit. Staying alive is hard enough but trying to keep her companions alive too, especially when she would sooner shoot some of them full of poisoned arrows, is unbearable.
        But Rory knows what she must do. She's trained for this moment for years. For the Citadel may mean certain death, but it also means viable seeds. Enough to undo the poison the Seeders have planted in all the forest between the regions. Enough to cut the web of dependency the Seeders have so carefully woven. Enough to start the revolution her mother died fighting for. 

Excerpt:

I grasp my step brother’s arms tightly and attempt to extract him from the clutches of the Seeder Cleansing Squad. They come for him in the middle of the night, just as they did for my mother. Shrouded in forest green cloaks, hooded and exuding despair, they clutch at him, their movements slow but purposeful. A silver fog hangs in the air surrounding them, its damp density cloying at my throat. There are four Seeders, each one at least seven foot tall and built like a brick silo. Mangled claws sit where their hands should be and a tug either way causes serrated nails to tear at Mikey’s flesh. Within seconds, blood runs slick between where our limbs meet and the Seeders pry him away. Only then does my gaze lift to their faces, half obscured in their hoods, and I’m struck dumb by the abomination of them. A mishmash of skin and cartilage, of various tones, stretched and clumsily grafted over red raw muscles. 
            In their arms, Mikey’s eyes become wide and he screams my name again and again. Confusion engulfs me because I know I should be running for him. But there is no fight in me. Below the ample folds of the now blood stained azure gown that I wear, my legs refuse to cooperate. Instead, I cover my ears from the onslaught of his desperation, but even then I can’t escape his tortured pleas of ‘Rory, help me! Rory, don’t let them take me please!’  The sound become tremulous, a quivering vibration that tears through me and suddenly it’s not my name that I hear but a jarring wail that could disturb the hibernation of a winter worn bear. Even half asleep I recognise the warning. How could I not when my chest constricts so tightly upon hearing it?

There you go guys, I'm not as slack as I thought!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

November Giveaway Hop!

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN AND ANNOUNCED SHORTLY*******  

 The November Giveaway Hop is a book giveaway hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Tristi Pinkston. 

I figured that since I've recently finished my first ever reading challenge (2011 Aussie Author Challenge ), I should participate in a giveaway hop to celebrate!

Up for grabs is $25 worth of books from The Book Depository. The giveaway is open to all countries. Click HERE to find out if they delivery to where you are.

To enter, simply follow this blog and leave a comment with your GFC name and best email contact.

The giveaway runs from 8-11th of November (I apologise for the time differences upfront but I will try and be as accurate as I can!) and I will be drawing the winner on 12th November using Random.org. The winner will have 48 hours to respond with their postal address and the book or books they'd like. 

To check out the rules and the other blogs which are participating in this hop, click HERE

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Review: Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody


The Story (from goodreads):
For Elspeth Gordie freedom is-like so much else after the Great White-a memory. It was a time known as the Age of Chaos. In a final explosive flash everything was destroyed. The few who survived banded together and formed a Council for protection. But people like Elspeth-mysteriously born with powerful mental abilities-are feared by the Council and hunted down like animals...to be destroyed. Her only hope for survival to is keep her power hidden. But is secrecy enough against the terrible power of the Council

My Thoughts:
This is another re-read for me. The sixth book in the series has just come out and it's been so long since the last one was released that I'm going to read them all again and refresh my memory. This is way off topic but I remember when my older sister bought this book home from the library, I took one look at the cover (a different one to the pic. Was much uglier) and title and pretty much wrote this one off. Then I got bored and decided to give it a try and now here I am 15 years later still waiting anxiously for the next installment to be released. 
        Obernewtyn is essentially a post apolocyptic fantasy about the world struggling back from the brink of a nuclear holocaust. I have to admit that reading back over the story, there are some inconsistencies that I never picked up when I first read it, but to me personally they didn't really matter. This series is still amongst my favourite. Here comes another listy review:

Things I Liked:
- There's not much in the way of physical action in this book but Carmody has managed to instill sense of suspense and impending doom. Others have called this book slow but I found it a nice change from the usual YA formula of boarding school, mean girls, hot guy.
- Elspeth. She's not your usual impulsive teenager. She's guarded and aloof and very detached. I think it's a good portrayal of a loner which she def is. It's so good to see a character who accurately shows the symptoms of their upbringing instead of the loner who just happens to really be a social butterfly.
- The world building is incredible and the plot is very well thought out.
- The animals. I'm not at all a cat person, but this book features the only cat that I like besides Garfield. 
- All the different mental abilities. I am a sucker for this kind of power.

Things I didn't like:
- One of my pet peeves is when an author feels like they need to emphasize a certain accent by trying to write the accent into the speech. Why oh why? There's a fair bit of this in Obernewtyn but thankfully the characters that the accents are attached to are quite loveable so I decided to let it go.
- This first book in the series is very much a she's good and he's bad scenario. There aren't any characters that I would consider in that grey anti-hero area. If you're evil, you're really evil. 


The Rating:
10/10

Review: Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott


The Story:
When Alex Bishop meets Madigan Sargood again after twelve years apart, everything changes. His childhood sweetheart is beautiful and impulsive, but there is something wrong with her. Something dangerous. Then she commits suicide. Now Alex can't get Madigan out of his head. Is it all in his mind, or is she communicating with him. To save himself and those he loves, Alex must uncover the sinister reason why Madigan took her own life - and why she won't lie still in her grave.

My Thoughts:
If there's one lesson to be learned from my Aussie Author Challenge, it's that there are many books out there which aggravate me to boiling point, but I will finish reading them if the writing is compelling enough. This is the posterbook for stories in that category. Once again, due to NaNoWriMo, this is going to be a listy review.

Things I liked:
- The writing is amazing. Almost lyrical and very descriptive.
- The plot is unpredictable. Even though the blurb says there's paranormal stuff happening, it just didn't feel like a PN book for the first 1/3 so I really wasn't expecting it to get so dark. 
- No storybook endings.  This is a like and dislike of mine. I can't decide exactly where this one goes.
- There aren't any cliched characters and everyone is quite distinct.

Things I didn't like:
- No Characters I actually liked: Huge problem with the titular character. Am forever off the name Madigan. Sorry to all the Madigan's out there. I just have OCD word association. I think she was meant to be portrayed as attractive and enigmatic enough to incite obsession but I just felt she was a manipulative, spoiled, rich cow. The narrator Alex didn't do much for me either. If he were a love interest, I would resign him to the weak, whingey, pathetic man category. Not a good formula.
-The ending to this didn't feel like it resolved anything. I don't think there's going to be a sequel so I would have liked to see a more concrete ending (although, I suppose in life there are no smooth endings).

All in all, despite the things I didn't like about this book, the writing and the plot twists kept me interested enough and I was still thinking about this one after I was finished reading which is a good sign.

The Rating:
8/10



* I read this book as part of my 2011 Aussie Authors Challenge

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Review: My Big Birkett: The Sweet. Terrible, Glorious Year I Truly, Completely Lost It by Lisa Shanahan


The Story:
Gemma Stone is convinced that it's always unseemly to chuck a birkett and that it's actually insane to chuck one in front of a complete stranger. But that was before she fell in love with a boy who barely knows she exists, before she auditioned for the school play, before she met the family of freaks her sister Debbie is marrying into, before the unpredictable Raven De Head took an interest in her, and before she realised that at the right time and for the right reason, a birkett could be a beautiful thing. 

My Thoughts:
I picked up this book because of a review I read over on Jenny's blog. I'm so glad Jenny is an avid reader of Australian fiction because I wouldn't have known about this book otherwise. And let me tell you that would be a shame indeed. I finished reading it in one sitting, forsaking both blogging and writing because I was so engrossed in Gemma's over the top family and her friendship with Raven. 
        I've been goodreads stalking again and there are lots of comments about how Gemma's family is very unrealistic. While my family isn't like Gemma's at all, I have to say as an Aussie, I've met a few over the top families like Gemma's in my time. Hands down, Gemma's dad is the funniest guy ever. 

This is going to be a lists review because I'm super busy this weekend so here goes:

Things I Like:
- Characters: I have so many favourite characters in this book it'll take too long to mention. As a character driven reader, this book could do no wrong for me.
- Premise: There's actually a real slang word that Aussie's use to describe someone whose throwing a massive hissy fit and it's called going "berko." I love how the author has adapted that concept into this hilarious book.
- Setting: The description and backdrop to this book is very authentic.

Things I Didn't Like:
- The ending felt a little out of place from the lightness of the rest of the story. I don't want to give away any spoilers but I really wasn't expecting it at all.

  
The Rating:
9/10

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Why I Prefer To Blog Rather Than Write

In the lead up to NaNoWriMo I tried (unsuccessfully) force myself to sit down and write an outline for the book I am going to speed write. Instead, I was jumping on the good ol' blog and starting but not really finishing a whole heap of new blog posts.
      Part of the reason I do this is because I want to procrastinate. I also get sudden bursts of good post ideas and need to write them down quickly and while I'm at the computer I may as well start the post. I kept telling myself that in a way I was preparing for NaNo month by planning some post ahead of time. In reality though, I just seem to prefer blogging to actually writing at the moment.
     Upon quiet reflection, I've come up with one main theory why. I like the social aspect of blogging. I like reading other blogs and being able to comment and have people leave comments on my blog. I like sharing ideas with others and learning what their ideas are. I love finding people who love a book or an idea as much as I do. Writing doesn't give me that same sense of community. It's just me sitting at a desk typing away at an almost blank screen. Occasionally my dog will walk into the room and then when she sees how boring I'm being she'll leave again. Thank goodness for email and critiquing partners. Otherwise I think I might lose the plot (literally!)
      What about you guys? Are there ever times when you would rather jump on the blog and now goodreads rather than write? I haven't felt the urge to bring life to a story in a few months and that really scares me.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Review: The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta


The Story:
Melina Marchetta's brilliant, heart-wrenching new novel takes up the story of the group of friends from her best-selling, much-loved book Saving Francesca - only this time it's five years later and Thomas Mackee is the one who needs saving.

Thomas Mackee wants oblivion. Wants to forget parents who leave and friends he used to care about and a string of one-night stands, and favourite uncles being blown to smithereens on their way to work on the other side of the world.

But when his flatmates turn him out of the house, Tom moves in with his single, pregnant aunt, Georgie. And starts working at the Union pub with his former friends. And winds up living with his grieving father again. And remembers how he abandoned Tara Finke two years ago, after his uncle's death.

And in a year when everything's broken, Tom realises that his family and friends need him to help put the pieces back together as much as he needs them.


My Thoughts:
 I won't go on about this book too much because I think I'm in danger of being predisposed to anything written by Melina Marchetta. The Piper's Son is set in the same world as Marchetta's Saving Francesca novel. In fact, Francesca (Frankie) is one of the smaller players in this book as well. As with many of Marchetta's books, the reader is pretty much dropped into the middle of an action scene and from there you're given snippets of information that you must piece together as the events unfold. I'm sure there are those who find this style confusing, but I don't have a problem with it. Besides, the writing is so good I don't really mind what's happening.
      This book is majorly character based which is why I have so much love for it. Tom isn't a guy who is easy to like. He's selfish, self absorbed and really mean at times. Even though I know he was hurting, I wanted to slap him for some of the things he said to Frankie and I kept screaming for her to knock him out. As the story progresses you see Tom transition from a massive jerk into the person he would have become a long time ago if it hadn't been for the death of some of his family. 
      I don't know how to describe it better than to say that this book is like a big family reunion where everyone has huge issues and problems but they love each other so much that you just know everything is going to be alright.

The Rating:
10/10 

* I read this book as part of my 2011 Aussie Authors Challenge

Monday, 31 October 2011

My Name Is Lan And I'm A Bookaholic


Hey All,

It probably doesn't come as much of a surprise that I am a completely nuts about books. I'm proud to be a bookaholic and to celebrate my addiction, I've gone and done a guest interview. To stalk me and read my answers, click over to Bookaholics Anonymous . Don't forget to join the feature if you feel like owning up to your addiction like I did. I'd love to get to know my fellow bookaholics a little better.

~Lan

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan


The Story:
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death? - From Goodreads


My Thoughts:
I know this books is quite popular with readers but to be honest, if I hadn't promised myself I would read one zombie book for Halloween, I would have stopped reading this one pretty early. What saved this book for me was the writing. As insanely selfish and annoying as Mary could be, Ryan's prose was gripping and I kept going in the hopes that the writing would somehow drown out the unlikeable characters. It didn't. 
     Anyone who has read my other reviews would be clued in that I can forgive a lot of flaws in books if I care about the characters. If I'm halfway through a book and I'm actually hoping that everyone dies, there's something terribly wrong. Let's take Mary for example. I suppose in reality, she is probably a true representation of what a teenager would be like. She's selfish, possessive, single minded and dare I say it, downright stupid. If Ryan meant for Mary to be this unlikeable than she should have, in my opinion, at least made Mary's motivations more compelling than just a need to see the ocean because of stories her mother used to tell her. I found this to be such a hollow reason, especially since on the first page, Mary professes not to believe her mother's stories about the ocean anymore. This example is the biggest problem I had with Mary's internal diatribe (of which there is a lot). Some of the questions, conclusions and even her stray thoughts make no sense or are so lacking in merit I really just wanted an unconsecrated to tear her head off and end it. There is a section where Mary wonders if she and her companions are all that different to the unconsecrated because she is tired, hungry and thirsty. There is a big difference i.e. the uncontrollable need to feed on human flesh which is the premise of the book remember???
       In essence, The Forest of Hands and Teeth left me with so many unanswered questions that I don't feel like Ryan really thought her ideas through to completion. The story is full of continuity and illogical issues which I found to be very jarring. This coupled with the lackluster characters really just didn't do it for me.
      Just because I can't not ask these questions, here is a list of things that I thought didn't make sense. Please click away now if you haven't read the book as the below list contains spoilers. Feel free to answer these for me if you've read this book because my head just doesn't want to solve these riddles:

-I seriously can't imagine a future where people would just accept the ministrations of a powerless religious order just because. I'd like to think that the human spirit is more resilient than it is portrayed in this book. 
- Why didn't any of the people think of fighting the unconsecrated instead of simple reinforcing the fence? If they had a complicated gate system which allowed for a person to be kept separate from the village and from the unconsecrated why not open it on the zombie end, let a few through and then kill and burn them? It's slow going but if they kept at it, in about a year I think they could have killed enough unconsecrated to make a difference.
- One minute the unconsecrated were so strong and relentless and the next they couldn't get past a simple chain link fence? For that matter, why can't zombies climb or break through doors?
- I understood the need for couples to be committed to each other, but when two couples are in love with each others partners, I don't get why they couldn't swap. After all, they weren't even engaged. The whole idea of 'because the Sisterhood said so' or 'that's how things are' is utterly ridiculous. Furthermore, I don't understand why Harry didn't ask for Mary and then asked for her and why Travis didn't ask for her when he said he would. The whole thing was just a waste of pages.Even the explanation towards the end made no sense.
-One second Harry was useless with a bow and then another he's dropping unconsecrated like flies. Which is it?
The Rating:
5.5/10

Friday, 28 October 2011

Review: The Outcast by Patricia Bernard


This is one I have re-read because I was thinking about dystopians before a time when The Hunger Games made them super popular. I first read this book about 15 years ago and have re-read it many times since. Unfortunately, it seems to have gone out of print since then which makes me really sad because the whole series is just so good. 


 The Story:
In Fish's world, people are divided into two groups. The Megas live in Megalopolis and have knowledge chips implanted in their brains. These knowledge chips designate their status within society and gives them the power to build great machinery and even control the weather. The Zoners have long rejected the idea of knowledge implants and are forced to live in the four zones outside Megalopolis. Fish is a Mega-throwback, saved from being sacrificed at birth by his caring mother. In the tradition of his people, Fish is pushed over into the Arid Zone, an infertile perimeter around Megalopolis where Zoners must survive for a number of years as part of their initiation. He finds himself on a dangerous path, trying to live at peace with his Cluster and save a Mega from certain death.

My Thoughts:
I wish I could find a copy of this book for a giveaway because I would love to be able to share this gem with someone. The Outcast is one of those books that felt so ahead of its time. Set in an alternate dystopian future, The Outcast follows Fish on his journey of self discovery, where he will learn to make peace with himself and learn of his destiny as the  Rule Changer.
       As a Mega throwback, Fish has been shunned his entire life by his father, his twin older brothers and his community. The Zoners are a proud race of stocky, bronzed and fierce fighters. In contrast, Fish is tall, lean and light haired. The only love he feels is from his mother, who tries to shield him as much as she can from the hurtful world. Rather than succumb to self pity, Fish decides to study the fighting techniques of the animals he observes regularly. These skills come in handy when his mother can no longer hide his burgeoning adolescence from the village leaders and Fish is pushed over into the Arid Zone. Fish seeks out his older brothers Ant and Bird who at first don't want him in their Cluster. In order to join them Fish defeats Ant in physical combat using his self taught fighting skills and earns their grudging respect.
     When Bird hatches a plan to pass Fish off as a Mega so that they can steal food from Megalopolis, Fish is willing to go along with the idea to garner the approval of his new Cluster. What he finds inside Megalopolis tests everything he has ever known and throws him into the complicated world of knowledge chips, body harvesters and perhaps most frighteningly, love.
    The Outcast is unlike any other book I've ever read. The ideas are so unique and the plot is all kinds of exciting. There's not a moment of the story when I wasn't completely gripped and wanted to know more. There are twists and turns and I felt like the male POV was written remarkably well. Fish is not a hero who lets things happen to him. He goes out and fights for what he wants even if everyone wants to push him down. It's such a shame that the library copy is the only one I can get a hold of. I am so close to emailing the author.

The Rating:
10/10

* I read this book as part of my 2011 Aussie Authors Challenge.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Writer's Corner: Disguising That Info Dump!


I'm guessing I don't need to lead you guys into this week's topic. We've all read them before. Those books that start off by throwing pages upon pages of back story and world building info at you. Possibly in some very long winded dialogue or character reflection. Some of us like them. Others not so much. How do you tell what is enough info to interest a reader and what will make their eyelids droop?
       On a personal level, I don't mind the info dump if it's done seamlessly. By that I mean if the info is meshed well into the MC's thoughts or comes at an appropriate juncture. Sometimes the info dump is even necessary for the reader to understand the plot. This is especially true in paranormal, dystopian or alternate history novels where the readers may be picking up the book in the middle of the action. Strangely enough, I don't find info dump so necessary in fantasy because I'm pretty much expecting something far out.
       Conversely, I don't mind books that throw you in the deep end and slowly drop nuggets of wisdom here and there. Sure things are a bit confusing a first  but eventually everything unfolds and half the fun is getting there right?
        At this point, I feel I need to confess that this post is a knee jerk reaction to my mindless trawling of Goodreads reviews  over the last few days. There are just so many comments about how slow some books are or how readers disliked a book because they didn't know what was happening.
      So if there's one thing I've learned from my Goodreads stalking it's this: You cannot, I repeat, cannot please everyone. So stop trying. There is no magical formula when it comes to info dumping. As a writer, you just have to follow your own gut instincts and unless there's ten  pages where you describe a character and then go on to tell us who all their family members are and which planet they come from, than you should be fine. 
      This post is pretty insightful huh? I wish I could take my own advice. I'm off to trim some info dumping fat!
   

Monday, 24 October 2011

Misc Monday: I Am Officially Freaking Out


I think I've redefined the meaning of stretching yourself too thin this month. Or should I say for the coming month. To qualify here is a list of things I have going on for the next four weeks:

- NaNoWriMo
- Sister's hens night
- Sister's wedding (of which I am a bridesmaid/florist)
- November giveaway
- Must finish Aussie Author Challenge for above stated giveaway
- A million and one books to read/review

Yeah okay, so the list doesn't look that daunting when it's presented so neatly but I kid you not it's more than it seems. I realise that none of the stuff on the list is mandatory and I could just say no and take the pressure off myself but c'mon, let she who is without a toppling TBR pile cast the first book. Nobody? I didn't think so!

I thought my 5 days off work would help but the internet was down for 2 of those days (you didn't notice because I have perfected the skill of squint typing into an iPhone and I know where the 3G hotspots are in my street!). Also, I've been hit with another mysterious headache so looking at the computer screen has been a bit nauseating.

Anyway, enough of that. I promised I would give myself this post to freak out and then I'd just get on with it. Thanks for listening guys!

Telesa Giveaway Winners


Congrats to the ladies from Borough of Books  and Ninja Girl Reads who are the winners of my Telesa giveaway.

Thanks to everyone who participated and be sure to keep a lookout for my November giveaway!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

GoodReads Newbie


Hey All,

So I'm finally on goodreads thanks to the gentle persuasion of Beth from Sweet Books'n Stuff. Stalker that I am, I've gone on a bit of an adding spree and requested a bunch of you guys as friends. So please don't be freaked out if you get a random request.
     I have no idea what's going on so I added everyone using their email addresses if they've emailed me personally before. If anyone else feels like adding me my email is lc.novel@gmail.com and my username is just Lan I think...

Over and out.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Follow Friday (14) - Superhero Surprises

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkie and Alison. It's a really fun way to get to know other bloggers and pick up a few new followers on the way.


This week's question is: What superhero is your alter-ego? 

This week's question is a really difficult one for me because I am a massive superhero geek. There are so many that I like and probably none that would fit as an alter ego but because I have to make a choice I would say Poison Ivy because of the cool evil botanist thing or Storm from X-Men because I think her powers are the best.



In reality, if I were really a superhero, I would probably be mostly like Monk, the female version.  Twitchy and OCD but gets the job done.


So what did you guys pick this week?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

On Research or Lack Thereof

I'm in a bit of a conundrum this week. In the lead up to NaNoWriMo I've set my sights on fleshing out my outline and character summaries. Part of doing this means that I am heavily in research mode. And I hate it! I normally write fantasy or paranormal so I'm usually less strict with myself about the amount of research I do. I mean hey, if Meyer can make sparkly vampires, I think I'm pretty safe to take creative liberties sometimes. 
     Unfortunately, Seeders is going to be a YA dystopian and I want to make it as plausible as possible.  There are some environmental themes in this one and some concepts that I need to get right or I'll end up looking like a fool. Plus one of my pet hates are books that just don't make any rational sense. For example, it really bugs me when books have a family with all different hair colours. Say the parents are blond and yet the kid has dark colouring. Gosh that really annoys me.
      It's just that research is so beyond boring. I didn't like it at school, absolutely hated it when I was at university and now I find that it's even more boring when all I really want to do is start writing. It's at times like these where I really wish they would speed up cloning. Then I'd have a minion who could do the research for me. Plus all the household chores so I could spend all my time reading. Until that happens I guess I better just bite the bullet and get to it.
     Do you guys have similar research woes? How much research do you do before you start to write? I'd love to know that I'm not the only one going mad.

*Okay I must be prophetic or something because an hour after I published this post the book about cloning that I won from Beth at Sweet Books 'n Stuff arrived. I really need to read it for research. How's that for the universe listening!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Misc Monday: Apologies and Promises

When I first started blog stalking it always really amazed me how bloggers would always put where they received their review books from and it blew my mind that many of them were given review copies. The whole idea was totally foreign to me because at the time my books came from one of two places: the bookstore or the library. Now that I'm 5 months into the blogging thing, I'm at the other end of the spectrum. I have so many books I want to read and usually get about 1 book review request a week. Which brings me to the apology bit of this post.
      I've accepted quite a few review books and haven't been able to get around to reading many of them. That thought really bugs me because I've always been able to prioritise my time well. So I apologise to all the great and patient authors out there who have taken a chance on me and my blog. I appreciate each and every one of you.
      What am I going to do about it you ask? Well from this moment on I promise that for every print book I read I will read one of my review books until I've caught up. Getting the e-reader will certainly help because a lot of my review books are e-books and I used to print them all out which was a bit of a paper guzzler.
       Anyway, this seems like a bit of a random pointless post. Thanks for reading guys.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Weekend Recap


This post is inspirited by a feature that Jessica at Thoughts At One in the Morning regularly does on a Thursday. I thought I might do one today since I've been fully MIA the whole weekend and partially MIA for a while now.
      It was my birthday last Tuesday and I've been a bit melancholy that I'm now leaning very much towards the adult side of things. YA is well and truly a thing of the past. But I'm not going to turn this blog into a whining tool so instead, I want to ask you guys if you can recommend any adult paranormal books I can start reading. I figure it's high time I ventured past the YA realm to see what else may be out there. I will try anything unless it's full on romance. I somehow got over those when I was 14.
     Any suggestions?

Reading news:
-Have finished reading Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld and The Piper's Son  by Melina Marchetta.
- Currently reading Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep (Yes BJ I finally started this series!)

Writing news:
- Aside from frantically trying to get something ready for my next writing workshop (in 3 days), and semi outlining for NaNoWriMo, not much in the writing section. Oh yeah, a while back I asked you guys to help me out with some names for Seeders in THIS POST. Just wanted you to know that I haven't forgotten and many of the suggestions you guys made will be used. Except for Jenny's  suggested name Ember, who has graduated to her own novel idea :)

Just stuff:
-I got an e-reader for my birthday AND a voucher to an online seminar on how to write, publish and market your own book so I am pretty excited.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Follow Friday (13) - When Two World Collide

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkie and Alison. It's a really fun way to get to know other bloggers and pick up a few new followers on the way.


This week's question is: If you could have characters from a particular book meet and form and epic storyline with characters from a particular TV series, which would you choose and why?

Hmmm this week I think I might like the characters from Vampire Academy (mostly the Moroi) meet the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I reckon there would be more than a little disagreement about if it's okay for the Moroi to have human feeders. That battle would be epic for sure!



* Don't forget to enter my TELESA giveaway. Entries close 23 October 2011. Click HERE to enter.


**Am going to be offline this weekend trying to get a lot of novel outlining/work junk done but will def be back Sunday to follow anyone who follows me so please be patient with me :)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

NaNoWriMo Recruiting & Halloween Jealousy


Hey All,

It's October which for most of you guys means that Halloween is a great holiday to look forward to. If all the stuff on American TV and movies is anything to go by, then I am green with envy. How do we celebrate Halloween in Australia? Well I answer this question and more in my guest post at Sweet Books'n Stuff. Go over and check it out!

In other news, I've been hearing all about NaNoWriMo on heaps of blog for a while now but haven't had cause to really get into it. At first, the idea of writing 50,000 in a month seemed like madness to me so I didn't bother looking into it any further.
      Then Beth over at  Sweet Book'n Stuff mentioned it whilst we were discussing becoming critique partners (have I mentioned lately how much I love book bloggers?) and the more she said the more interested I became. Now that I've decided to speed write Seeder's Poison for a comp in May 2012, speed writing is looking more and more appealing.
       So last night in a fit of uncharacteristic ambition, I signed up! There is so much information on the webpage and I haven't go the slightest clue how to use any of the features but somehow getting that small bit done has renewed my spirit and now I just can't wait to start.
       What's the point of this post you ask? Well, I figure that NaNoWriMo is more than about just writing a lot of words in a short period of time. It's also about community and connecting with other writers. So really, I'm here today to see if anyone else is interested in joining me on my writing quest! I've already almost roped in Ashley from Bookaholics Anonymous. I figure the more people I know who are doing it, the less chance I will just give up halfway because my fingers are about to drop off.
      So, if anyone is interested, my profile name is Write_Obsession. Add me if you like and I will try to add you. I have no idea how to do this as yet but I will figure it out!

Lan

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Review & Giveaway: Telesa: The Covenant Keeper by Lani Wendt Young


The Story:
Nestled in the heart of the Pacific is Samoa - a lush tropical paradise. We walk to a different drum beat. Here, ancient mythology tells of Telesa. Demon women who are guardians of earth and gifted with the elemental powers of Air, Water and Fire.Telesa are vengeful and cruel.Tales to frighten children.Or are they more than that? From Washington D.C, comes Leila, in search of family,a place to belong. Instead she finds her destiny and it threatens to tear her apart. There is the bewitching call of a Telesa sisterhood and there is Daniel. Will Leila embrace her birthright or will she choose the one who offers her his love with a crooked smile and dancing green eyes? Will Daniel be the element that gentles the fire of the Telesa? Or must love burn at the altar of the telesa covenant? There are many different kinds of love. All of them require sacrifice. Who will give everything for the one they love?

My Thoughts:
There were so many things running through my head before and after reading Telesa. Lani and I had a discussion about reading books your friends have written and how you would react if you didn't enjoy it. I have to admit, I lost a little sleep worrying about this. Luckily for me, Lani is extremely talented and I needn't have stressed. Telesa is one of those books that you pick up because of the great mythology and stays with you because of the loveable characters. To top everything off, Lani is just one of the funniest, most insightful bloggers I have met and you'd be barmy if you didn't check out her blog Sleepless in Samoa.

Things I liked:
-How freaking awesome is the cover? Whoever designed it is a genius.

- Leila is my kinda heroine and someone I can identify with immensely. She's that tough chick who will stand up for what she believes in but is also respectful of her elders and doesn't want to hurt people to get what she wants. Leila is frightened and alone but she doesn't let that turn her into a mopey sad sack. Instead, she takes her future into her own hands and flies across the world to find her destiny. That's pretty ballsy in my books.

- Jason. He deserved a post of his own. Read about why I loved him so much HERE.

- Daniel. How can you not fall in love with a guy who says this: “I love you. And I can’t be without you any more. I want to be everything to you. But if I can’t, then I’ll be what you want me to be. Your friend. Your debate sparring partner.” A crooked smile as he paused before proceeding. “Your designated driver. The guy who picks you up the next time you pass out in the hallway. Heck, I’ll even settle for being the guy who gets his eyebrows singed – just so I can give you my shirt when you burn all your clothes off.”

- Simone. He is a Fa'afafine with a wicked sense of humor and I warmed to him the second he appeared. I almost jumped up and down when I read about him because I learned about Fa'afafine at University and it's the first story I've read that highlights this interesting culture.

- Those of you who know me well will know that food is one of my main loves. And man can Lani describe delicacies to make your mouth water. At one point I was like huh? is Jason in this scene with his top off? I just want to eat this food!!!!!

- Those Telesa ladies are some badass mofos. Part of me really disliked them but another evil part wanted to see them unleash hell. If you're looking for a read where the badies are bad but their motives are in that grey area, this is the book for you.

- I can't help but be drawn to the underlying environmental theme in this book. I'm not sure if Lani meant for this to happen or if it just came out because of the Telesa mythology but as bit of a greenie I really enjoyed the lesson.

Things I wasn't so keen on:
- For a very short time I thought Lani had gone the route of Cassandra Clare and made Leila and Daniel long lost siblings....I don't want to give too much away but I kinda wished a certain aspect of the mythology had come to light earlier. Although I know it will be explored in the next book of the series.


Rating:
9/10

AND NOW THE GIVEAWAY!!!!

Lani has been kind enough to offer two copies of  TELESA to two lucky readers. You can choose from the print version or the e-book version. To enter, please fill in the form below. The giveaway is international and will run from today until 23 October 2011. The winners will be drawn using Random.org. Good luck everyone!!

*I'm pretty new to Google forms so if this form stuffs up I apologise in advance :(

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