Saturday, 24 January 2009
Review - I wrote Cassandra Clare an email immediately after finishing this novel. Why? To tell her how monumentally peeved I was that I had to wait another eighteen hours to get my hands on the sequel novel, City of Ashes. That's right, I needed to express to her how frustrating it is to rabidly read a novel and then find yourself reading the last page with bookstores only open for another five minutes. So I am filling the time, until 11am tomorrow (Australia's crap business hours), to find out what is going to happen next.
I liked all the characters here; particularly the non-cliched, strong, independent protagonist, Clary, and the lovable and dorktastic, Simon. There is no bones about it people, I am a Team Simon member and was from about page four. Sure some of the story points remind me of Harry Potter and Star Wars but this novel is exceptionally well written, action packed with a strong narrative thread. Some events I could see coming, one smacked me on the back of the head as it passed me, leaving me gasping with a mix of bewilderment and genuinely aghast. Every character possesses their own voice and is well rounded, I particularly loved Luke as I have a tendency to zero in one character's suffering with the doldrums that is unrequited love (another reason I love Simon too.)
There are some great relationship parallels everywhere you turn from familial, to romantic to doomed crushdom. The periphery creatures are squee worthy, I particularly loved the Ziggy Stardust-esque, Magnus Bane (a fantastic name if there ever were one). I didn't think I would like this book, previously I declared myself a fantasy snob but I think a transformation is a brewing people. If I am lucky Cassie won't be offended by my email and I might get to have a chat with her, fingers crossed!
Format: Paperback, 446 pages
Publisher: Walker Books
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Mortal Instruments Official Website
Cassandra Clare's Website
Friday, 23 January 2009
Review - I have been crying solidly for the past thirty minutes, dampening my pillow as I read the end of this book. I didn't like Tessa and I hated myself for feeling that way. It took me most of the book to realise that I did care about her though and that her fast approaching death felt intensely real. I actually caught sobs in my throat, this piece of writing is that emotive (and I can be an unashamed brick wall at times.) There is no sentimentiality here, lacking that cringe factor that most TV writers make of death. It's piercingly real and painful as all heck.
“I wish I had a boyfriend. I wish he lived in the wardrobe on a coat hanger.”Downham writes poetically. I have to admit that I found it overly wordy at times but then again I found myself sucked into the story. The characterisation is exquisite from her poor, self-sacrificing father to her daring friend, Zoey. This one defies the cliches of many authors attempts to depict a child's death, thumbs it's nose to those who criticise teen literature and screams for you to continue Tessa's journey. I found myself fighting this story as Tessa gave in to the eventuality of her death. Daeht isn't easy and neither is this book. But reading this was definitely worthwhile. I would highly recommended this novel, very deserving of the Silver Inky award.
Lisa Mantchev (USA)
Eyes Like Stars
Michelle Zink (Australia)
Prophecy of the Sisters
Lisa Ann Sandell (USA)
Song of the Sparrow
Kirsty Murray (Australia)
Michelle Cooper (Australia)
A Brief History of Montmaray
Guest Blog: What is YA?
Amra Pajalic (Australia)
The Good Daughter
Kate Welshman (Australia)
Guest Blog: Writing Posse
William Kostakis (Australia)
Guest Blog: Atypical Childhood
Courtney Summers (Canada)
Cracked Up To Be
Jennifer Echols (USA)
Going Too Far
Guest Blog: Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Jennifer Lynn Barnes (USA)
Gayle Forman (USA)
If I Stay
Guest Blog: All Access Pass
Movie Interview #1
Movie Interview #2
Sue Lawson (Australia)
Mo Johnson (Australia)
Guest Blog: Custard Pie
Sandy Fussell (Australia)
Guest Blog: A Kid's Gig?
Cassandra Clare (USA)
City of Glass
Beth Fantaskey (USA)
Jessica's Guide for Dating on the Dark Side
Guest Blog: Getting Published
Karen Tayleur (Australia)
Guest Blog: Writing YA
Melina Marchetta (Australia)
Finnkin of the Rock
Guest Blog: The Week After Prinze
Simmone Howell (Australia)
Graphic Artist Interviews:
Amy Saidens - The Boys Next Door, Major Crush, The Ex Games etc
Astred Hicks - Posse
My Guest Blogs:
Fire Engine Fail - First Love (Ten Cent Notes blog)
My Square Heart - the importance of Judy Blume's Forever (My Favourite Books blog)
The Five Stages of Geek
A Guide to YA Blogging
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl / Tanya Lee Stone
A Field Guide to Heartbreakers / Kristen Tracy
After / Sue Lawson
A Great and Terrible Beauty / Libba Bray
A Little Wanting Song / Cath Crowley
Anna and the French Kiss / Stephanie Perkins
A Year In Girl Hell: Crushed / Meredith Costain
Ballads of Suburbia / Stephanie Kuehnert
Beach House (RL Stine)
Beastly / Alex Flinn
Beatle Meets Destiny / Gabrielle Williams
Beautiful Creatures / Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Before I Fall / Lauren Oliver
Being Nikki / Meg Cabot
Bloodflower / Christine Hinwood
Blood Promise / Richelle Mead
Boofheads - Mo Johnson
City of Glass / Cassandra Clare
Confessions of a Serial Kisser / Wendelin Van Draanen
Cracked Up To Be / Courtney Summers
Crime Time: Australians Behaving Badly / Sue Bursz...
Crossing the Line / Dianne Bates
Review - Dairy Queen / Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Endless Summer / Jennifer Echols
Evermore / Alyson Noel
Evernight / Claudia Gray
Eyes Like Stars / Lisa Mantchev
Fairest Of Them All / Jan Blazanin
Friend is Not A Verb / Daniel Ehrenhaft
Front and Center / Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Generation Dead / Daniel Waters
Guyaholic / Carolyn Mackler
Hex Hall / Rachel Hawkins
Hostage / Karen Tayleur
How I Live Now / Meg Rosoff
How to Ditch Your Fairy / Justine Larbalestier
I Am The Messenger / Markus Zuzak
If I Stay / Gayle Forman
I Know It's Over / CK Kelly Martin
It's Not Summer Without You / Jenny Han
It's Yr Life / Tempany Deckert & Tristan Bancks
I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone / Stephanie Kuehnert
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side / Beth Fantaskey
Jekel Loves Hyde / Beth Fantaskey
Keeper / Mal Peet
Kiss It / Erin Downing
Knife / RJ Anderson
Letters to Leonardo / Dee White
Little Bird / Penni Russon
Lucy Zeezou's Goal / Liz Deep-Jones
Matched / Ally Condie
Merrow / Ananda Braxton-Smith
Mockingjay / Suzanne Collins
My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters /Sydney Salter
My Extraordinary Life and Death / Doug MacLeod
Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List / David Levithan & Rachel Cohn
Nightshade / Andrea Cremer
Not That Kind of Girl / Siobhan Vivian
Once A Witch / Carolyn MacCullough
Outside In / Chrissie Keighery
Paper Towns - John Green
Pearl Verses The World / Sally Murphy
Perchance to Dream / Lisa Mantchev
Perfect Chemistry / Simone Elkeles
Perfect You / Elizabeth Scott
Pink / Lili Wilkinson
Playing with the Boys / Liz Tigelaar
Posse / Kate Welshman
PrettyTOUGH / Liz Tigelaar
Princess Ben / Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Prophecy of the Sisters / Michelle Zink
Psych Major Syndrome / Alicia Thompson
Raised by Wolves / Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Red: Teenage Girls in America Write What Fires Up ...
Rules of Attraction / Simone Elkeles
Saltwater Moons / Julie Gittus
Same Difference / Siobhan Vivian
Samurai Kids: White Crane / Sandy Fussell
Sea / Heidi Kling
Shrinking Violet / Danielle Joseph
Siggy and Amber / Doug MacLeod
Sing Me To Sleep / Angela Morrison
Six Impossible Things / Fiona Wood
Skim / Mariko & Jillian Tamaki
Sisters in Sanity / Gayle Forman
Stargazer / Claudia Gray
Stealing Heaven / Elizabeth Scott
Stinky Squad / DC Green
Stolen / Lucy Christopher
Strange Angels / Lili St. Crow
Suite Scarlett / Maureen Johnson
Surprise / Karen Andrews
Review - Sweethearts / Sara Zarr
Tattoo / Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Teen Idol (Meg Cabot)
Ten Mile River / Paul Griffin
The ABC's of Kissing Boys / Tina Ferraro
The Agency: A Spy in the House / YS Lee
The Ask and the Answer / Patrick Ness
The Beginner's Guide for Living / Lia Hills
The Book of Luke / Jenny O'Connell
The Deadly Sister / Eliot Schrefer
The Dead Tossed Waves / Carrie Ryan
The Demon's Lexicon / Sarah Rees Brennan
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks /...
The DUFF / Kody Keplinger
The Earth, My Butt & Other BIG Round Things / Caro...
The Eternal Kiss / Ed. Trish Telep
The Eternal Ones / Kirsten Miller
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June / Robin Benway
The Forest of Hands and Teeth / Carrie Ryan
The Good Daughter / Amra Pajalic
The Hate List / Jennifer Brown
The Hunger Games / Suzanne Collins
The Knife of Never Letting Go / Patrick Ness
The Ice Cream Man / Jenny Mounfield
The Ivy / Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur
The Lucky Ones / Tohby Riddle
The Off Season / Catherine Gilbert Murdoc...
The One and Only / Sophie McKenzie
The Vinyl Princess / Yvonne Prinz
13 Little Blue Envelopes / Maureen Johnson
3 Willows / Ann Brashares
Top 8 / Katie Finn
Town / James Roy
Vampire Academy / Richelle Mead
Vampire Academy: Frostbite / Richelle Mead
Vampire Academy: Shadow Kiss / Richelle Mead
Vegan Virgin Valentine / Carolyn Mackler
Vulture's Gate / Kirsty Murray
Waiting For You / Susane Colasanti
What I Saw and How I Lied / Judy Blundell
What Supergirl Did Next / Thalia Kalkipsa...
What Would Emma Do / Eileen Cook
When It Happens / Susane Colasanti
Wicked Lovely / Melissa Marr
Wings / Aprilynne Pike
You Wish / Mandy Hubbard
Zombie Queen of Newbury High / Amanda Ashby
Thursday, 22 January 2009
Review - I happily discovered that Cohn and Levithan plotted this book out this time around. They knew where they were going with this tale and it showed. I liked the skipping perspectives and the insider's (and sometimes outsider's) glimpse at the friendship of these longtime best buds. The humour is brilliant and there are many allusions and jokes that depict the breadth of their history. I do feel that the characterisation of Naomi was better, I knew more about her motivations, her interactions, her parents and even her horrific music taste. I felt that I knew more about Gabriel and Bruce The Second than I did Ely. Ely, while a thoroughly engaging character, lacked the depth of the others. Maybe this was due to many of the minor characters reflecting on Naomi more but it's simply the way I feel. A great strength of this book is the Ely/Bruce the Second relationship as it was just plain beautiful to read - relatable and incredibly touching. A special mention for the Gabriel chapters as I really found myself rooting for this character!
The novel is incredibly well written, Cohn and Levithan's styles mesh fabulously. The themes of unrequited love, friendship, sexuality and being true to yourself are universal but told with such humour and truth that you feel for each of the characters without judgement. I have two pathetic gripes though; 1) the spelling of Ely should be with an 'i' and I found it continually frustrating to see it with an ill fitting 'y' and 2) the use of emoticons in Naomi's chapters took me out of the story somewhat. These are slight issues, somewhat telling of my being slightly older than the intended audience but it was a great read with a group of people that you really invest in.
Format: Paperback, 230 pages
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
**Note - Hayden Panettiere has apparently signed on to play Naomi in the movie version and I cannot think of anyone less like the character. Not happy.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Penguin - When Auden decides to spend the summer before college with her father and stepmother in a small beach town, she finds herself freed to discover a new world of friendship with other girls, as well as an unexpected romance with Eli, a rising star on the BMX circuit and a fellow insomniac, who joins her in exploring the late night world of the small town. As Auden struggles to turn from the path her mother has set for her and Eli tries to come to terms with the death of a friend for which he holds himself responsible, the two break out of their mutual self-imposed isolation and find one another.
I cannot wait to get my hands on this book. Sure I am a little biased but Dessen rocks my world! Waiting on Wednesday
Stranded on a boring island with no malls, no cell phone reception, and an aunt who talks to her plants, Colby worries that her new friends have forgotten all about her. But when she meets Yannis, a cute Greek local, everything changes. She experiences something deeper and more intense than a summer fling, and it forces her to see herself, and the life she left behind, in a whole new way.
Review - First of all, this is a beautiful, simple cover featuring the stark tranquility of the sky and great body language of the models. It jumped out at me from the shelves of my book store despite someone obviously already having read it (grrrr). I hadn't heard of Alyson Noel before I read this last night and I haven't seen her books on the shelves here in Adelaide, Australia but I will be seeking her out from now on. What I loved about this book was the very fluid, chatty writing style that flowed throughout. It may be a more casual style but don't assume there's no substance. We are able to access Colby's thoughts through letters, blog entries, texts, and diary entries and I found myself laughing and joyfully turning page after page. I particularly loved it when one piece of correspondance contradicted another as I felt that is was very true to the protagonist.
Colby suffers and she explains her suffering, at length. But she does it in such a whiney, bratty and remarkably unconscious way that it paves the way for actual, organic character development. Our heroine may dump her best friend, hook up with a shallow loser, break some rules and make really bad decisions but we don't hate her because of it. Why? Because Noel sprinkles comments about her homelife that make it truly impossible not to wish happiness for her. Divorce is pretty common these days and Colby's parents choose the road most travelled in their management of it. By that I mean...just plain mean to each other and periodically, Colby. I loved the flippancy and liveliness of this character, she possesses that classic impetuousness and enthusiam that you love to death in a person but which also drives you up the wall.
I loved the minor characters. Natalie, though we never witness any actual interaction with one another than some emails from Colby, is my fave. She is a true friend and someone that Colby eventually sees the value in. I have a real soft spot for Tally, Tassos and the beligerant Petros. Yannis sounds divine but I could take or leave him, the real story here is Colby and her striving unconsciously to be a better person.
Alyson Noel, I think I adore thee. style="FONT-SIZE: 78%"
Published: 27 May 2008
Format: Paperback, 240 pages
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
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Official Alyson Noel Website
I felt old but happy that I actually knew who Bananarama were (check it out - Cruel Summer)
(Now I am going to email St Martin's and beg for some cross-Pacific Noel-love.)<>
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Here is what I got -
Before I Die (Jenny Downham)
Recipient of the Silver Inky and of many glowing (and slightly tear stained) reviews, I believe this one might inspire and/or make me cry big, fat, ugly tears. Either way I think it may be an awesome read.
Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List (Cohn & Levithan)
I wasn't overly impressed with Nick and Norah but I think a second attempt could win me over. Plus the cover art is slamming on this one.
The Steps (Rachel Cohn)
I wish I got this cover. Instead I got the worst of any of the options available,so much so that the web won't even accept it as a jpeg. I love the idea of reading what an American would write about finding themselves transplanted in Australia.
The Mortal Instruments - City of Bones (Cassandra Clare)
I cannot remember for the life of me where I saw a review of this series but it peaked my interest. Last week I didn't see these novels anywhere, this week they're are all over the place.
Okay here's my shocking confession - I haven't read anything of his before, I am a Westerfeld newbie. I couldn't get Uglies anywhere (I think that's the first of that series) so I grabbed this one. Sounds like something my Buffy adoring heart will like.
I am an Alyson Noel newbie too. But she has received glowing reviews from most of you. I just started and am enjoying it immensely. Great chatty vibe with some nicely understated characterisation. I don't feel like I am getting hit over the head with the characterisation and motivation sledgehammer on this one. Haven't met Yannis yet though!
Sunday, 18 January 2009
What’s happening with the Ranger’s movie?
Well, it was supposed to start shooting this year but there’s been a delay in the funding. So we’ll all have to wait a little longer. I’m told, however, that Paul Haggis, the writer-director on the project, is still keen to make the movie. That’s the important thing.
So who do you think should be cast in this movie?