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Tuesday, 22 September 2009

My Birthday Dinner


This is me on my 27th birthday on September 19th. I celebrated my birthday with one of my besties; Thi, her partner James, my Mr and another friend, Sam. We had a nice dinner at Lansvale Motel's restaurant and went back to Thi's for dessert, birthday cake!




This is my friend Thi who organised dinner and got me the cake! The cake is not only beautiful it was delicious too!

Thanks Thi for organising my birthday dinner, it was lovely! Loved it, thank you!

I just wanted to also thank my Sister & my Mum; who knows me too well who got me the necklace I am wearing, don't know if you can see but it's got a matching bracelet and lots of other KimmiDoll stuff which I love, thanks Mum & CK!!!

Another year older...time is just speeding me by! Where is the pause button??? Anyone?

Richelle Mead Signing



Yes that's moi with RICHELLE MEAD!!! For those that don't know who Richelle Mead is, first, catch up girlfriends; she's the author of The Vampire Academy series. I've reviewed Vampire AcademyFrostbite here on my blog.

I was so very excited to meet her that I traveled via public transport for an hour and a half there and an hour back...now for those that know me, y'all know that's a bit of a mission. It was held at Penrith Plaza Dymocks on September 17th 2009 at 5.30-8.30pm.

I arrived at the venue at 4.45pm and there were already at least 100 people in line. I was bored and lonely and seriously missed my Mum and especially my Sister as these are the types of things that we do together when they were in Sydney. At 5.30pm I call Mr and as he answered there was a LOUD SHRIEKING!!! I guessed Richelle Mead had just arrived!

2 hours and 15 minutes later I was finally in front of her getting mine and my sister's books signed. Richelle was magnificent! She was extremely friendly and took the time to speak to everyone, it certainly made the wait worthwhile. I was in such a good mood that I public transported back home instead of catching a cab LOL. I'm so thrilled as this is definitely an experience I won't forget. and

Saturday, 1 August 2009

LAZY post

I have been so lazy lately. My days consists of a lot of sleeping...I really need to stop and get a life! I'm serious, it's really, really bad! I've got a whole heap of purchased furniture...yes from a few months ago (blog entries) that are not even inside the house yet, still in the garage! I've got a whole heap of clothes piled on a wing chair that's meant to be for sitting. I've got Mr nagging me for new clothes! ARRRRHHHH!!!

I really need to snap out of this rut I'm currently in...anyone have thoughts and advise how to go about breaking a routine, please comment.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

A New Obsession...here we come!

I've been MIA lately from this blog. I really wanted to have a particular topic and point of interest for this blog but unfortunately I tend to go through phases/obsessions and as you can tell from the start of my blog entries, my blog topics follows me through those stages of my life. I've gone through my tech-loving, interior designing/furnishing, bookworm stages and am more likely to go through more...so this is what this blog will be about, my journey.

You wonder why I'm to write such an entry now? Well I've got a new obsession, makeup! Yes what a bizarre obsession for a late-20s woman to have, but nonetheless, I'm all of a sudden attracted to all the pretty makeups available to us women and men nowadays. So stay tuned and hope y'all stay for the journey, to whatever topic/obsession that may arise now and in the future ;)

Whilst I'm certainly not a total newbie to the makeup world, thanks to my Mum, I really should wear it more often at my age (26 nearly 27), but I am lucky to have good skin and complexion, once again credit to my Mother and her genes...so I've been able to be on the "lazy" side of things as I didn't need to cover anything. However, now those nice "rosey-never-needing-to-wear-blush" cheeks are starting to look red, blotchy and uneven...I've decided now is the best time as any.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Michael Jackson Dies Today


So surprising but the King of Pop died today at about 2.30pm (US time) at his home. It's believed that he went to cardiac arrest but there are no confirmation till they do the autopsy as some believe it was due to prescription drugs.

What a total shocking news and he was only 50! Very, very shocked.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

The Boy in Striped Pajama Giveaway



The Eclectic Reader is giving away a copy of The Boy In The Striped Pajamas which is a recently released movie as well. Giveaway info can be found here. It is open to International visitors which is not something that happens often so please support the blogger!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong


Review:- I borrowed this awhile back from the library and I thought that I would thoroughly enjoy it. Sad to say that I did judge the book by it's cover. Yes towards the end it certainly became very interesting but the first 40 chapters, book ended with chapter 47 was a bit tedious.

This story is about Chloe Saunders. A child who used to see ghosts in her basement. Now turning 15, she has not seen any ghosts since hence, she has put her fear/sightings in the past as a childhood fear, the running of a child's imagination. However, on her 15th birthday, whilst at school she sees another! Due to this sighting she is sent to Lyle House, a group home for kids/teens with mental problems eg. Schizophrenia which is what Chloe is eventually diagnosed with.

At Lyle House Chloe and the other kids soon realize that this group home is not what it seems and that the teens in this home did not end up in there by accident. The story consists mainly of the experiences of Chloe and the other kids in the Lyle House and whilst it does build up on the story, that something is wrong with Lyle House and there's a mystery behind them being there it just moved quite slowly. However, having said that I will still be reading the sequel which is The Awakening.

This is definitely a terrific plot but it just dragged on a bit. Had the story moved a bit quicker this would have been a terrific read but that's just my opinion, many have loved this book.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Happy Easter!!!



I just wanted to apologize for the lack of posts. I've just been busy and the last week have had a bad bout of the flu. So I've been missing out on my readings and my "What are you reading on Monday" posts. This is probably the slowest week in my "reading" this year. However, in note I've completed my two challenges from J-Kaye; "YA" and the "1st in Series" challenge. 

Happy Easter Weekend Everyone!!!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Book Trailer ~ The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

The Compulsive Reader: The Book Thief Trailer

The Compulsive Reader blog has posted The Book Thief's trailer courtesy of Youtube and it is wonderful! I am so excited, this is definitely going to be a Gold Class cinema screening for me. This book is a modern-day classic so if you haven't as yet read it please grab it soon. Here's my review on The Book Thief



Saturday, 4 April 2009

Taxi Instruction Napkins


I found this on a bridal blog that I frequent and thought what an excellent idea! Whilst owning a pub/bar/club is not something that I have ever considered, I thought what an awesome idea for those that do own one. Picture this, a customer is way too intoxicated, his keys are in the pot of "too drunk to drive" pile and the bar tender can't wait to get rid of him/her. They call a taxi, fill in the said napkin and hands it to the drunk or even put it into their pockets. Then it will eventually become a well-renowned phenomenon that the taxi driver simply takes it out of the customer's pockets or simply asks "Napkin please?" It even has a tick box to say where the money can be found so the taxi driver has all info he needs without having to really communicate with the drunk passenger. This is like a hall/bus/travel pass for the drunks, I love the concept!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier


Review:- I loved this book and very much understand why it has become a classic. "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier is a suspenseful thriller with a touch of romance and horror. The story is about the narrator who remains unnamed throughout the book, who meets and marries Mr Max de Winter, a recent widow and the owner of a beautiful estate, Manderley.

The story consists of her arrival at Manderley and her feelings of inadequacies as she realizes that she is nothing like the first Mrs de Winter, Rebecca. Rebecca seemed to be the perfect wife, hostess and in general the perfect woman. Our narrator goes through her life being shadowed by the dead but yet still very much alive in people's memories, the first Mrs de Winter. However, she soon hears from her Husband that the portrayed and "known" Rebecca amongst the public is not what she seemed and this is when the mystery and thrilling parts of the book commences.

I don't want to put spoilers although I'm sure many have read Rebecca but this is a wonderfully written book with enough of the different genre to keep all readers interested. The plot was amazing and it's twists and turns is certainly not something that you expect or realize straight away. I cannot say more about this book but that I loved the plot and the writing was terrific and I'm definitely going to be seeking for other du Maurier books. 


Overnight @ Sydney

Source:- Travel Now

Last weekend Mr & I went and spent the night in the city (Sydney). Friends of ours got "Complimentary" rooms at the Star City Casino (pic above) and so we thought we'd go too. Our night started so stressful that we just wanted to turn the car around and go home. Why? Well we got to the city in no time, no problems there, but when looking for our hotel, Novotel Rockford and with the city streets all being one way and very confusing for those that do not drive there, well we got lost. We were right at the entrance of our hotel but we see a sign "Novotel" and to go straight so off we went and we were directed to the Darling Harbour Novotel...where's my Novotel, ours was in the heart of Darling Harbour but the one further from Darling Harbour was called "Darling Harbour Novotel" and the one that's in the heart of Darling Harbour they call the "Rockford Novotel"! So despite it being a few blocks down the road we just got lost and went round, round and round some more till finally we found it and was quite happy with the location. Those that have been to Sydney will see from the Rockford Novotel pic below that it's literally in the Darling Harbour complex. 

Source:- Twohigs

So this is where the night gets better...well sort of. Mr & I finally settled into the hotel at 10pm when we got to the city at 9.15pm, we call our friends who are sitting down for dinner and told them to also order for us. He then tell us to go to Sussex Street...we get directed all the way around when at the end he realises it was only in Chinatown and rather than a 2-3 minute walk we walked for over 10 minutes because he didn't just tell us it was at Chinatown!!!

So we're hungry and grumpy, we eat lobster and duck and all the good things Chinese and then we finally start having a good time. We walk to the Star City Casino where said friends are staying and we see their room, not bad but not the $600 price tag it's worth either. Our location was actually better and ours was a mere $200!

Mr is so excited to play at the tables and not even 15 minutes later I get a call...he wants to go to bed LoL. So we traveled to the city, stayed at a hotel to; have dinner at a Chinese Restaurant, a 15 minute stint at the casino, half an hour shopping at Chinatown and the best part of the trip...the breakfast!!!


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson


Review:- Henri Vanger's niece, Harriet has been missing for over 20+ years but he remains to receive dried pressed flowers yearly, a gift that only Harriet gave. Confused and extremely curious he wants to solve the mystery once and for all. 

Mikael Blomkvist a Journalist has recently been charged and convicted for libel. He wrote a story about Wennerstorm, a corporation giant, and their illegal and underground dealings. Failing to provide his source, after Wennerstorm sued him he was then convicted. 

Lisbeth Salander is a very disturbed woman with a bad past. Salander is now working for a security company, providing them with detailed and in depth report on individuals that their client wants investigated. Salander is the best in her field, but she finds these information illegally, she's a computer hacker.

After Blomkvist stint with the legal system, Henri Vanger took the opportunity to strike a deal that Blomkvist couldn't resist. Vanger hired Blomkvist to solve the mystery of his niece's disappearance in exchange for information about Wennerstorm that will prove that Mikael's story wasn't a lie after all. Despite hesitation Mikael takes the job and before long Mikael hires Lisbeth Salander to help him with the case. The two soon find out that the Harriet Vanger case is not what it seems. 

This book was quite slow to start off with. I had past the half way point of the book before it started to get interesting, up to that point it was a lot of introduction. To be honest, it wasn't even introduction but it dragged through parts that was not necessary or even important in the case. I found that the first half of the book concentrated on points that by the end of the book you wonder why on earth did they go through that in so much detail? However, as I've said in previous posts, it seems that this is the norm for first books in a series, hence, maybe when I read the second book I will realize its importance, but as for now I felt that it was written simply to fill pages.

Having said that, once the book actually got going it became a very good mystery story. Filled with unexpected twists and turns it kept me interested and constantly thinking. It was certainly one of those stories that at the end you think "Wow! I didn't see that one coming!" So in that respect it certainly achieved it's goals in being a good mystery book, like I said, my only qualm was that I felt that some minor themes were explored too in-depth when it was not necessary.

Whilst I was not able to empathize with any of the characters, I felt that in this book, the characters were one of Larsson's best points. Larsson's characters had multiple dimensions and he explored their different dimensions in depth. Through the creation of his characters, you as the reader is brought into their lives and you want to find out what and why this and that happened in their lives.

Overall this was a great first book for Larsson, you can see his potential to be a great writer, but I think that he just needs to know when enough's enough and that sometimes going too much into a minor theme/plot of the story becomes information overload. Apart from the information overload the plot, themes and characters were well created and the book was well written. 

* Stieg Larsson soon died after writing the trilogy, hence he never knew the fame that his books claimed.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Melina Marchetta Book Giveaway & Competition


This is the first competition I am hosting so please bare with me. This is in honor of one of my favorite author, Melina Marchetta who is based in my home country, Australia.

To enter you must:-
1. Place a comment on this entry and link me to a review written by you, on your favorite Melina Marchetta book. Those that do not own a blog, please place a comment with your email address and I will give further instructions on how to get the review and question (see #2) to me. Comments with email addresses will not be published, hence it will not be viewed by the public. Email addresses will be used for this competition only and it will be deleted as soon as I've contacted the entrants regarding this competition. 

2. Within the same comment write ONE question that you would want to ask Melina Marchetta if you got the chance.

Conditions:-
1. Winner will be drawn at 6pm (GMT10+) on Friday the 10th of April 2009. 
2. Winners can only enter once, with one review, one book and one question.
3. Winners will NOT be notified by email so please subscribe or RSS feed this entry to ensure that you do not miss out.
4. Winners will have 24 hours to get back to me with information that I will need for their prize. If the winner does not contact me within the provided 24 hours a new winner will be chosen. 
5. Open to all readers worldwide.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!!

What Are you reading on Mondays?


I haven't been on my blog as often as usual...apologies. I also missed out on "What are you Reading on Mondays" and am one day late so please bare with me. There was no point writing a "What are you Reading on Monday" post last week as I did not complete any of the books that I had wished to read.

Books I've finished last week:-
1. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Books I'm currently reading:- 
1. Extras by Scott Westerfeld
2. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
3. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
4. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Books I plan to read this week:-
1. The Risen Empire by Scott Westerfeld
2. The Foundling by D.M Cornish

At the moment I'm going by what needs to be returned at the library next so please bare with me if the "Books I plan to read this week" doesn't end up being accurate. 

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Beautiful Heart Blog Award


I was blessed to have received this award from a favorite blog of mine, J-Kaye's book blog. I am happy enough to know that someone like J-Kaye actually take the time to read my blog let alone award me with such an award. Thank you J-Kaye!!! Furthermore I just wanted to let J-Kaye know that if I could send the award back to her I would as she's definitely got a "Beautiful Heart" and certainly deserves the award a few times over.

I would also like to pass the award onto:-


Sunday, 22 March 2009

Thanks for the Memories by Cecilia Ahern



Review:- Joyce Conway awakes at the hospital. She has had an accident, she tripped on her stairs and she's lost her baby, the one she has been trying for, for the last ten years. She wants to start a new life and she decides to separate from her husband and moves in with her father, Henry. 

Justin is a recently divorced Professor who has moved to London to be with his daughter. He's also a guest speaker at St Trinity College at Dublin. Whilst at St Trinity he is forced to donate blood by an attractive Doctor. 

Justin and Joyce's lives collide before they meet. Joyce receives the blood that Justin donates. On the way home from the hospital Joyce and Justin meets at a hair salon as they were both feeling the urge to get a haircut. When they meet they feel a force drawing them together and they feel like they've known each other all their lives despite never having met. They leave and go their separate ways.

Then Joyce starts remembering memories that aren't hers, she also starts doing things unlike her eg. eating meat when she's a vegetarian. She also starts speaking languages she never knew how to speak eg. Latin, French and knows about things that she has previously not known about eg. historical buildings and architecture and art. Joyce tries to solve this mystery.

This book is a light and enjoyable read. It's one of those frustrating books though because they keep meeting and missing each other, one of those so close and yet so far kind of situation. However, through the book I sometimes found it a bit slow going, which I've never found with Ahern's previous books. Also whilst the ending is a happy ending, I was unhappy that they didn't put say another chapter to say what they ended up doing together, but I suppose that's what most book endings are like so I can't really complain. Apart from that, like I said, it's a typical Ahern book which is a sweet love story with a bit of magic thrown in. Anyone that has read other Ahern books would love this one as well. 

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld


Synopsis:- Hunter is a "cool hunter" he seeks for all things "cool". He meets Jen who is an Innovator, those that come up with the cool ideas all by themselves, she has invented her own shoe laces which are the coolest shoe laces Hunter has ever seen. Hunter invites Jen to his workplace and Jen contributes to the discussion. Hunter's boss, Mandy ends up inviting Hunter and Jen to a job and upon arrival at the meeting point they find Mandy's phone but Mandy was nowhere to be found. The story is their search for Mandy and the conspiracy that's within consumerism.

Review:- This book is strange. The main plot of the story wasn't something exciting and a lot of it can visibly be viewed as totally made up, but having said that, Westerfeld, being such a great writer has still got you turning the pages. He keeps you interested in the characters and the story despite the plot being a bit "meh". 

So this is a short review, the plot was not good but his writing excels and keeps you somehow interested. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle


Review:- This is a story about an Irish 10 year old living in fictitious Barrytown in 1968. This book is written in first person and the format is similar to that of a manuscript from a taped interview with a child, one that allows the child to speak of his life openly and without limitations. Roddy Doyle captures the format of a child's thinking and speaking beautifully in his writing, the lack of pauses at times and the chop and change of stories according to what he remembers and decides to stem to from the current topic he is speaking about is so realistic. The book at times lacks cohesion and fluidity but I think that's his technique of making it seem child-like and it succeeds in this aspect.

Majority of this book consists of Paddy speaking of his daily activities with his friends and brother Francis (Sinbad). It's so entertaining to hear of all their activities, even their dialogue is captured by Doyle perfectly. Whilst many reviews love the book simply because they were able to relate to the things the boys did, I liked it because it was so different to my childhood and even more different to the childhood nowadays, but despite the differing in activities there is still the same underlying thoughts, fears, issues and child underneath all that.

Through the book his parents start having fights at night and Paddy sees himself as the unknown referee as his parent's are unaware that he hears these fights. He takes it on himself to stop these fights, unbeknown to him that it's actually not in his control. This also causes Paddy to mature and want to reach out to his brother, his only ally and the only one that knows what he's going through, but Sinbad doesn't know how to react to Paddy's change.

This was difficult read for me due to writing technique and the lack of cohesion and plot, but ultimately Doyle succeeded in his goal of capturing the true child, and he did do that, it just wasn't for me. It was too slow for me and it just didn't go anywhere, no particular plot and whilst the end was sad that was it. However, I do see the brilliance in his writing and hence can understand why it has won the Booker Prize, but it's just not for me. I've been told though that other Doyle books are terrific, so maybe I'll give another one a go.

Monday, 16 March 2009

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


Review:- During world war 2 a little girl and her brother are being escorted by their Mother to Himmel Street where they've been adopted by an older couple, Rosa and Hans Hubermann. On the train trip there the little boy dies and Death comes for him and notices the little girl...this is her story, narrated by Death.

The little girl, Liesel Meminger, on the day of her Brother's funeral finds a book "A Gravedigger's Guide" and steals it as a remembrance of her brother's death a tangible item of remembrance and hence the title "The Book Thief". 

This story tells of Liesel Meminger's life as she arrives at Himmel Street, as she is taught by Papa (Hans) to read her guide book, as she befriends Rudy Steiner who paints himself black to be like his idol, Jesse Owens an African-American Olympic champion, she befriends, fights and steals from the Mayor's wife, as she meets Max and befriends him and have the happiest time of her life with all four of them under one roof, up to the time that she was the only one left standing on Himmel Street, alone.

This novel is quite long but it's not a tedious read so persevere. Despite it's length it is a very entertaining and heart wrenching book filled with a mixture of laughter, joy, heart ache and tears. It also taught me many things about the war. 

To be honest I do not know what else or how else to tell people about this book, it's brilliancy simply cannot be put into words. Hence, all I can say is that it's a must read for all and one that you are unlikely to ever forget once you've read it. Each part/chapter consisted of memorable story that added to the plot, I didn't feel that any parts of this book was a pointless tale, all contributed to the overall story. This is a beautiful book that all would appreciate. I do not normally read war books nor even have interest in war and I fell in love with this book. I personally think it should be written up to be a "classic" that's how good it was. 

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Bride Stripped Bare by Anon


Review:- A Mother produces a manuscript apparently written by her Daughter, a Daughter that has recently disappeared, the manuscript is "The Bride Stripped Bare". This is a very gripping introduction that had me thinking from the start if this is actually true, not so much the novel but if the Anonymous writer had in fact gone missing. This grabs readers immediately and the attention doesn't diminish either.

This book is very creatively and uniquely written, I had never come across a similar writing technique. It's written in second person which invites the readers to participate and/or become the narrator of the book, it makes you think that this is "your" story.

"You" are a recently married London housewife. On the wake of your honeymoon you hear your husband, Cole having a disturbing conversation with your lifelong bestfriend Theo about you! You assume that they are having an affair and in anger and fear you seek out your independence. You have come across a manuscript by an Elizabethan in which she writes witty and confidential secret desires of women of that era, you decide that you too should do something of the kind.

At a coffee shop, away from home and the life that you know, you meet a younger man, a virgin, Gabriel. You decide that he will be the perfect student and tool for your secret fantasies and desires and you start "lessons" to teach him how to satisfy you sexually. Things are good, he is quickly learning but soon he wants more, he wrecks things, this is meant to be a second life, nothing more. It's not meant to replace your actual life, home, marriage, the usual things in life. Gabriel falls in love with you and this scares you. Your two lives aren't meant to join together, they are two separate women, two separate lives, he has no right to do this, you retreat and go back home to Cole, the life that is familiar and you know what is expected of you at all times. 

This is the generally gist of the story. I believe that the writer wanted to write it as if it was a story of your life but at the same time she writes it as if it was a handbook, even going so far as naming her chapters as "lessons".

This book is very original and I adored the writing. This type of writing technique would not be easy to pull off but she did it wonderfully. I like the plot and enjoyed the book thoroughly. However, I did have some qualms, one being that the whole disappearance of the Author was never again mentioned so as a reader you wonder what happened? After all, this is what grabs you at the start, hence I believe readers would like to know how it went from the happy ending to her disappearance? This is something that the writer doesn't elaborate on, I'm unsure if this is done on purpose to allow the readers to draw their own conclusion, but it was a confusing element for me.

There is sexual references to this book and whilst I've never read a book with such vivid description I still think that these parts of the book was still done with enough taste that you didn't feel like your reading pornography. However, there is one sexual reference that I didn't like nor did I understand it's point within the book, and I doubt that many if any women would be able to empathize with this part of the story. After breaking up with Gabriel she wants to forget about him and she still wants to continue on her sexual escapades and when taking a taxi home she tells the taxi driver to bring a friend and meet her at the hotel. I found this ever so unrealistic, cheap, tacky and just plain wrong. Whilst I understand it is fiction and it is reflecting the sexual fantasies of one woman, the writer, I had assumed from her writing, that she is trying to reflect and represent the general women population and whilst I don't know statistics I had assumed that there wouldn't be many that would just tell taxi drivers to meet them in hotels. I just didn't understand that part.

Apart from that I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it's writing and it's general story. I thought this was cleverly written and put together and whilst I didn't really see many similarities between my life story and that of the Author I can still sympathize and empathize with some of her actions and decisions and the story rounded off nicely too.

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Review:- Being an Australian student I was introduced to Melina Marchetta's work by doing "Looking for Alibrandi" at school but I actually recall reading it prior to being made to read it. I recently read Jellicoe Road  and fell in love with her work as an adult...but now after reading Saving Francesca I'm going to have to buy all her books as I just love, love, love her!!!

This story is a coming of age story but it seems so much more realistic than most and it really made me laugh so many times and brought me back to my High School years.  This story is based on Francesca Spinnelli who has recently moved to a new school for her Senior year, a school, that right up till that year was only for boys. The boys aren't welcoming, she has none of her previous friends and to top it off her Mum goes through a breakdown and life changes completely and she takes over being the rock in her home. During this time she needs to escape and finds it at an unexpected place...her new school with an unexpected bunch of people. 

This story is amazing! It is short but the writing is beautiful and it's very entertaining that the length did not detract from the overall story. Marchetta was still able to form a coherent story with a good ending without the length of a usual novel. There are so many entertaining parts as well as those heart wrenching ones that you have either felt yourself in high school or have seen others go through. I appreciate the fact that Marchetta is able to bring her readers, despite not being a teen back into the world of teens. Some of these types of teen books tend to be on the corny and immature side that you just want to slap the protagonist and other characters for being so blind to the world around them, but in this book you just accept that they are only 17, these are important themes to them and they act on it according to their age but it's alright, we were all once there too, and that's what I really liked about Marchetta, she allowed me to understand being a teen without actually being in my teens anymore.

I'd love to list all my favorite parts but this review will become too long so I'll stick to one. Frankie asks her Father, "Do I look like Sophia Loren" and he answers absent mindedly "I used to tell your Mother she looked like Sophia Loren" and then it dawns on him "Oh my god, a boy is using that line on you?!"

Monday, 9 March 2009

The Last Vampire & Black Blood by Christopher Pike


Review:- The Last Vampire is about Alisa Perne a 5000 year old vampire who is being anonymously chased. Through meeting people and threatening them she soon realizes who is after her, her Creator, Yashka. She has thought that Yashka had died decades ago but she knows that Yashka has made a promise to "God" in that he will have an after life IF he destroys all the vampires that he had created which includes herself.

Black Blood is the second book in the series. Alisa encounters a group of newly made vampires. The leader was perceived to be stronger and faster than her. This is a mystery for Alisa, no newly made vampire could possibly be as strong, fast and as smart as her, as vampires age the faster/stronger/smarter they get. Alisa starts to ponder the mystery of who made them. She must destroy all the vampires and destroy the Leader to ensure that no more vampires are created.

This is a six book series. This particular edition that I read had both book one and two in one book, hence why the combined review.

I've just got to sing this book praises. I didn't expect much from this vampire series, after all, vampire stories mostly have very similar plots but I was happily surprised with this series. I've read many Christopher Pike books in the past and from what I remember his books were simple and straight forward horror books for teens, a good past time but nothing that got you thinking. This book however, I would go as far as saying a "near masterpiece". The writing was brilliant and the information provided were so in depth that it was believable that this "history" that he has created is in fact real.

The Last Vampire is written with alternating chapters. One being the story of the present and the other being Alisa's past history eg. how she became a vampire, her life before becoming a vampire etc etc. That part of the story is what really got me in this book, it was so in depth, very original and once again the brilliant writing. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.

Review ~ Frostbite by Richelle Mead




Review:- Rose is constantly dipping into Lissa's mind when Lissa and Christian are sharing intimate moments further magnifying Rose's loneliness of not being able to spend time with Lissa and the love that she cannot have, Dimitri. Rose turns to Mason but soon realizes that Mason wants more and in response to Dimitri's rejection she tries to rebound onto Mason. If that's not enough Janine Hathaway, Rose's Mother, a well renowned Guardian and one that was never present in Rose's life shows up and things get more complicated.

The Badicas, a Moroi Royal family has been massacred by an unusually large group of Strigoi. Evidence further points that the Strigoi has recruited humans. This changes everything for the Morois as there is no time in the day that they are going to be safe from attacks, humans have no limitations to sun light and Moroi magic does not affect them. 

In response to the attack St Vladimir Academy students and any Moroi family who wants to take refuge are taken to an exclusive ski resort owned by one of the Royals. Christian's Aunty, Tasha arrives and Rose finds herself in a competition for Dimitri's affection and attention. A Royal, Adrian Ivashkov befriends Rose but everyone tells her that Adrian is a bad influence but Adrian seems to be using Rose to get to Lissa and soon Lissa succumbs but fails to tell Rose what's going on.

When a second attack happens and Mia's Mother is killed in the massacre, Mason, Eddie and Mia are determined to take revenge. When Rose realizes the trio is missing, her and Christian follow in hope that they can find them before they encounter any Strigoi. 

This book was filled with lots of action. As I read more of the series I enjoy it more. In this book it wasn't really Lissa that was the main focus but Rose whereas in the Vampire Academy I felt that much of the focus was on Lissa and Rose was just the sidekick, in Frostbite this changes. I really enjoyed the ending in Frostbite, despite something tragic happening to one of them (obviously this isn't an ending I wanted) but the rest of the ending was sweet and I can only hope that in the next book that this path continues.


Sunday, 8 March 2009

The Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle


Review:- The Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle is about two couples who live in the same area but their lives are worlds apart. The chapters alternate, written by each of the characters. There's Candido, a recent divorcee to his current wife's older sister and there's America, Candido's new wife, 17 year old and also pregnant who left her whole family for Candido and the American dream, they are Mexicans who have crossed the borders illegally and are camping at Topanga Creek in Los Angeles, homeless.

Then there's Kyra, a successful Real Estate agent and the bread winner of her family, she is married to Delaney who is the stay at home Husband and Step-Father to Kyra's son from her first marriage, Jordan. Delaney is also a freelance writer who has his own nature column. They have the proposed American dream of a beautiful home at an exclusive estate with important neighbors and nice cars. They too have recently moved to Topanga Creek but with a different reason to Candido and America, they moved simply to be closer to nature and yet still be close enough to the amenities of the city.

Their lives collide when Delaney hits Candido with his car, Candido refuses medical treatment and requests for cash instead. Delaney gives Candido $20 and from then on their lives each impact the others' lives unknowingly.

This is a book like no other and it's definitely not one that I would have picked up on my own accord, it was this month's discussion in one of the online book clubs. Whilst it was a slow read for me I would still say that it's enjoyable enough. There were a lot of heart wrenching moments and it really opened my eyes to what people actually go through and hence, I was able to be more thankful for what I do have. The pain that Candido and America goes through for simple basic needs is just pitiful and in today's society no one should have to go through that. 

In the discussion forum for the book club there are so many different points of views. Many simply states that they are illegal and so...but I personally think that many of us that live in a beautiful country and able to have the basics are just lucky, it could have been any of us to be born in the wrong country, to the wrong family with the incorrect financial status so we need to have compassion for those that do not have what we have as it's certainly not their fault. Candido and America are hard workers, many Americans or Australians probably aren't willing to work as hard as them for minimal wage but they are and what for? To simply have what we all take for granted. A roof over our heads and food on our table.

Anyway, the book is a deep thinking novel which introduces many themes and they are serious themes. This is an eye opener to what others go through and I'm grateful for reading this book as it has changed my perspective on many things and have also allowed me to be more understanding of people's circumstances. Like I said it is not an easy read and could seem a bit tedious at times but persevere as it teaches the readers many things, including compassion, love, understanding and appreciation. 

The Society of S by Susan Hubbard


Review:- This is not your usual vampire story, I'm actually quite sure that Susan Hubbard only added the vampire part of the character just to make it more interesting but it's certainly not the main plot of the book. This is a coming of age story.

The main character, Ariella Montero is a 12 year old who has been brought up and home-schooled by her Father. She knows no one beyond the people that work within her home. Whilst very textbook smart Ariella knows nothing about the world outside the walls of her mansion. Ari soon becomes depressed and lonely and Mrs McGarritt, the housekeeper invites Ari to spend time with her kids, two being Michael and Kathleen.

Ari and Michael become romantically involved and Kathleen becomes her best friend. Soon as she sees more of the world she starts seeing that all she has been taught and all that she has seen within her home is not always what it seems and questions are constantly arising in her mind. When tragedy hits and Kathleen is found murdered, Ari decides that there's no time like the present to seek the answers to her questions, questions that only her Mother can answer.

This story is about Ariella Montero's personal journey. From being an isolated, home-schooled child to growing up into a teen when she meets kids her own age to finally being forced into an adult situation as she travels on her own to look for her Mother. Whilst it consists of your usual coming of age themes, it also has many original elements eg. vampires, the vampires living amongst humans, vampires not needing to kill for blood as supplements have been created for this purpose. 

This book is very well written and I was so very surprised that it's considered a YA fiction. I am looking forward to reading the Year of Disappearances which is the sequel to this book. It has many themes including environmental awareness and it really gets you thinking about the way we live our lives. 

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris


Review:- Sookie Stackhouse is back with three mysteries to solve! Lafayette, Merlotte's African-American cook has been found murdered in local policeman's car, Andy Bellefleur. Last seen speaking about a sex club Sookie must find this exclusive and invite only club, be invited and trusted so that she can bring justice to the killer and free Andy from wrongful conviction.

Sookie has been "loaned" by Eric to a Dallas vampire, Stan. Stan's brother, Farrell has been missing and he wants Sookie to find him. Farrell is found in custody of an anti-vampire organization and Sookie is way over her head as she finds herself just as trapped as Farrell, can she free herself and Farrell by sunrise, when he's scheduled to be burned?

And if that doesn't seem enough to you, Sookie has a near death encounter with a maenad, another supernatural being who is known to worship the Greek God of wine. It seems that Sookie Stackhouse's life will never be the same again. 

This review is difficult for me to write as I cannot seem to decide how much I enjoy this series. I've read the plot summary for the entire series and like what I see and excited to read till the end but as I read each book it doesn't feel like it's fully satisfying. Each book has it's pros and cons.

Dead Until Dark was better in terms of mystery where you may not realize immediately who the killer is whereas in Living Dead in Dallas there is no mystery to solve, everything is shown to the reader in due time without clues ahead of time. However, Living Dead in Dallas immediately went into action and suspenseful scenes, so I will only say that I will persevere with the rest of the series and I believe that it will only get better. So till then...

Friday, 27 February 2009

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta


Synopsis:- Taylor Markham is not a popular choice. She is erratic, has no people skills and never turns up to meetings. Not to mention the incident when she ran off in search of her mother and only got halfway there. But she's lived at Jellicoe School most of her life and as leader of the boarders that's her greatest asset. Especially now the cadets, led by the infamous Jonah Griggs, have arrived. The territory wars between the boarders, townies and cadets are about to recommence.But Taylor has other things on her mind; a prayer tree, the hermit who whispered in her ear, and a vaguely familiar drawing in the local police station. Taylor wants to understand the mystery of her own past. But Hannah, the woman who found her, has suddenly disappeared, leaving nothing but an unfinished manuscript about five kids whose lives entwined twenty years ago on the Jellicoe Road. 

Review:- I just loved this book! It's got to be one of my favorite books of all time! It is very deep in meaning but it was so wonderfully told. At the start of the book it maybe confusing as there are two stories being told simultaneously and no connection can be seen apart from the location...Jellicoe Road. Then as Taylor starts piecing things together for herself the readers start seeing the connection between the past and the present story and it's got a lot more than just the location. The two stories eventually interweaves together and once you realize the connection the story becomes more intense, hence the reason as to why I think it's definitely a must to re-read, this time knowing all the information from the beginning.

I'm so impressed with Melina Marchetta, it was a hard story to read so I can imagine that it'd be a harder story to tell and yet she managed to do it perfectly. The combination of the two stories were placed together just at the right moments, just giving you enough clues to keep you going. It's definitely a book that gets you thinking, similar to that of a puzzle. I even had written on an envelope which I also used as my bookmark writing down the names of the characters in the stories and trying to figure out who was who and how they are connected to each other.

This is actually written for Young Adult and yet I feel that this book is so deep that I wonder if many teens would actually have the patience to persevere with the story and figure out what's happening. However, for a 26 year old adult it really did a piece on me and it's definitely a story that I will remember. 

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Specials by Scott Westerfeld


Review:- Tally Youngblood has been made into a Cutter, a part of the Special Circumstances. Dr Cable has created these teenagers as weapons of destruction, from their bones, strength and reflexes they were built to control and to fight!

Tally goes to see Zane and due to the problems with the cure pills Zane has some disabilities which Tally cannot see beyond. His slight disability is seen as disgusting in Tally's eyes but yet she still feels love for him and wants him to be a Special like her. By having him "changed" into a Special he will no longer have his slight disabilities and it will be back the way it was between the two of them.

Shay, being the leader of the Cutters' main aim is bring the New Smoke down. Tally and Shay creates a plan where they get both their objectives achieved. They will help Zane with a clever escape where he will lead them to the New Smoke. Through this it will prove to Dr Cable that Zane is a "Specials" material and Shay will get to bring down the New Smoke. Unfortunately things didn't turn out as planned, their actions causing more trouble than worth and at the end neither of their objectives were accomplished.

Out of the three books I've read in the series this is the one that I disliked the most for several reasons. For starters Tally's attitude was just shocking in this one and it took too long into the book before she sees her evil ways. Westerfeld also did things within the book that I couldn't understand his motives for it. The most disappointing thing about this book is that it didn't give me the happily ever after ending that I was hoping for and the most likable character in the whole series, Zane, was killed off! However, if you've read Uglies and Pretties and enjoyed it, you'll still have to read Specials just so that you know how it ends, but it's not a happy ending.

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