Thursday, 29 September 2011

Note-worthy: In The Blogger's Studio

Kelsey from The Lost Book Reports has been lovely enough to have me as a guest for her Q&A feature, In The Blogger's Studio. Head on over to read my thoughts on adaptations, bookish quirks, beautiful cities and other random things! Thanks to Kelsey for having me!

Bookish Fun: Bookshelf Porn

To get inspiration for my own bookshelves, I've been spending a bit of time on the Bookshelf Porn Tumblr. It is, as the name suggests, totally drool-worthy. These are some of my faves...

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Note-worthy: How Do You Organise Your Books?

Since starting this blog my book collection has kind of exploded. I've become addicted to obtaining books (even more so than I was before - not good!). My one bookshelf, which was already stuffed, is nowhere near adequate any more, and I've been stumbling over massive piles of books scattered around my apartment for months. Which is why I'm so excited to have finally gotten another bookshelf (seriously, YAAAAAAY!). It's the one pictured above, a nice little IKEA number. It's new home will be in our lounge room, with the other bookshelf taking up space in the study. So, with two separate bookshelves in two separate rooms, I'm rather perplexed as to how I should organise my books. Do I colour block? Alphabetise? Split by genre? Have a "smart" show-off shelf and a "fluff" shelf? A TBR shelf and a favourites shelf? I can't make decisions at the best of times, so the all-important question of what to do with my books is really troubling me. Hence, this post! I need help! How do you organise your books? What should I do with mine? Give me advice and I'll love you forever!

P.S. My first bookshelf looks like this, only it's currently considerably heavier with the weight of too many books (it's also a nice little IKEA number).

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

My Book Boyfriend: Mr Nobley

My Book Boyfriend is a weekly meme hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader, all about fictional boys who make us swoon. This week I'm loving Mr Nobley from Austenland by Shannon Hale. As I mentioned in my review of the book, he's very Darcy-esque; coming across as proud and kinda dull at first before slowly revealing the passion, romance and sense of humour that's bubbling underneath. One of my favourite things about him is the way he really listens to Jane, as evidenced by his sneaky gift of a paint set after she reveals how she misses the hobby. I also love that he tries to protect her from getting hurt, even if she doesn't realise it. He's pretty lovely. Although JJ Feild has been cast as Nobley in the upcoming movie adaptation of Austenland, unfortunately he doesn't really do it for me. I pictured him as Elliot Cowan, who played Mr Darcy in Lost in Austen.

Swoon-worthy Quotes (Spoiler Alert!)

"Just ahead, the path was drenched in a puddle that could not be bypassed. The men walked through fearlessly. Colonel Andrews took Miss Charming's hand and helped her step across. Mr Nobley placed his hands around Jane's waist and lifted her over. As he set her down, their bodies were much nearer than was seemly in the early nineteenth century. They held still for a breath, their faces close together. He smelled good enough to kiss... He had the kind of face you wanted to kiss - lips, forehead, cheeks, eyelids, everywhere except his chin. That you wanted to bite."

"He tackled her. He actually leaped up, grabbed her around the waist, and pulled her down to the ground. She screeched as she thudded down on top of him... Then he looked at her. He breathed in. His forehead tensed as if he were trying to think of words for his thoughts, as if he were engaged in some gorgeous inner battle that was provoked by how perfectly beautiful she was. (That last part was purely Jane's romantic speculation and can't be taken as literal.) Nevertheless, they were on the ground, touching, frozen, staring at each other, and even the trees were holding their breath."

“'Miss Hayes, have you stopped to consider that you might have this all backward? That in fact you are my fantasy?'”

"'I need to admit up front that I don't know how to have a fling. I'm not good at playing around and then saying good-bye. I'm throwing myself at your feet because I'm hoping for a shot at forever.'"

Monday, 26 September 2011

Mag Monday: Allure, Neux and Hobo

I've never heard of Hobo magazine before, but I adore this shoot they've done with Michelle Williams.

The same goes for Neux magazine and their Kat Graham spread.

Meanwhile, I'm not a massive fan of Olivia Wilde (I don't dislike her, she's just a bit meh to me), but her Allure photo shoot may just be the prettiest thing I've seen all month.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Review: Austenland by Shannon Hale

For me, Austenland can be summed up in the wise words of 30 Rock's Liz Lemon: "I want to go to there."

From the beautiful, Regency-style house (fitted out with modern-style conveniences, of course) to the gents in boots and breeches, Pembrook Park, where the book is set, is an Austen fan's wet dream. Which is why Jane, the heroine, ends up there - her great-aunt, aware of her secret obsession with all things Pride and Prejudice (and, more particularly, Colin Firth), bequeaths her a holiday to the place that houses an Austen-inspired role play game on 'roids. Jane reluctantly goes, in an attempt to purge herself of her Darcy obsession once and for all.

While the book is super fun and the characters are all likable enough, this motivation - central to the plot - let it down a bit. It's never firmly established what exactly is so wrong about Jane's Darcy obsession; brief glimpses into her past relationships show how she always compares guys to Darcy and ends up miserable for it, but Jane's reasoning for doing this is never explored. Perhaps this is because there seems to be the assumption that anybody interested in reading Austenland would understand this behaviour, but I question how many real women actually find their love for Mr Darcy detrimental to their lives. Sure, I love me a fictional guy as much as the next girl, and joke about how Darcy and Disney have forever ruined me for men, but when it comes down to it, the worst consequence I've had to deal with is the very occasional whinge to my fiance, in the form of "whyyyyyyyyy can't you save my skanky sister (that I don't have)/kiss me passionately despite it setting your throat on fire (although it really doesn't)/climb a Ferris wheel (when that would really give me a heart attack)/[insert grand gesture here]." In other words, fictional men have no real impact on my life, other than providing a lot of fun (though if Darcy asks, I didn't say that, 'kay?). And maybe I'm being harsh, but I question the, er, mental stability of anybody who takes it more seriously than that. So I found it hard to believe in Jane, or relate to her, in that respect.

But, though my rant may have you believe otherwise, all this didn't majorly impact on my enjoyment of the book. It was minorly annoying, sure, but I was able to push that aside and go along for the ride. A ride that was made all the more exciting by two rather swoon-worthy men (natch) and an array of amusing and sharply-drawn secondary characters. Not to mention a pretty setting, a few unexpected plot twists and good dollop of romance. It made me smile, which is exactly what I wanted it to do.

Rating: 4/5

Eye Candy
I knew they were making an Austenland movie, but I'm kind of glad I didn't look up the cast before I read the book, because it's totally not how I pictured it (except maybe for Jennifer Coolidge as the ridiculous Miss Charming). Here's who I "cast"...

Reese Witherspoon as the Darcy-obsessed Jane
Elliot Cowan as the Darcy-esque Mr Nobley

Michael Fassbender as the Darcy-antithesis, Martin
Fine Print
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Reading Icons: Jane Russell

“Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don't have any.” - Jane Russell

Saturday, 24 September 2011

On My Wishlist: Ghosts, Battles and More Darcy

On My Wishlist, hosted by Book Chick City, is a weekly meme that keeps track of the books we want! Here's what I'm currently coveting...

Summary: The year is 1856, and orphan Abigail Tamper lives below stairs in Greave Hall, a crumbling manor house in London. Lord Greave is plagued by madness, and with his son Samuel away fighting in the Crimea, the running of Greave Hall is left to Mrs Cotton, the tyrannical housekeeper. The only solace for the beleaguered staff is to frighten Mrs Cotton by pretending the house is haunted.
So when a real ghost makes an appearance - that of her beloved mother - no one is more surprised than Abi. But the spirit has a revelation that threatens to destroy Abi’s already fragile existence: she was murdered, and by someone under their very own roof. With Samuel returned to England badly wounded, it’s up to Abi to nurse him back to health, while trying to discover the identity of the killer in their midst. As the chilling truth dawns, Abi’s world is turned upside down.

Reviewer that made me want it: Melissa at Books and Things

Summary: Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.
Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

Reviewer that made me want it: Audrey at Holes in my Brain

Summary: In this multiple parallel universes of the Twelve Related Worlds, only an enchanter with nine lives is powerful enough to control the rampant misuse of magic—and to hold the title Chrestomanci...
The Chants are a family strong in magic, but neither Christopher Chant nor Cat Chant can work even the simplest of spells. Who could have dreamed that both Christopher and Cat were born with nine lives—or that they could lose them so quickly?
Reviewer that made me want it: Ruby of Ruby's Reads, via Twitter

Summary: When the famous rock band Slurry and it's members Fitzwilliam Darcy, Richard Fitzwilliam and Charles Bingley need a new support act, they choose Long Bourne Suffering, the band of Elizabeth & Jane Bennett and Charlotte Lucas. From the get go there is a lot of chemistry between the band members and even though Darcy, the leader of Slurry, doesn't want any relationships to develop he can't stop it from happening.
Soon the two bands and their members are connected in a close, complicated and sometimes messed up way. Will they find a way to play the whole tour, get over their issues and find happy ends for all of the band members?
Reviewer that made me want it: Sabrina at About Happy Books

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Review: Cargo by Jessica Au

This book is like the ocean; it lures you in with it's beauty and fluidity and knocks you down when you least expect it, leaving you with a raw feeling in your throat.

Set in a small beach town in 1992, Cargo tells three separate but intertwining stories of Gillian, who is vulnerable after losing her leg in an accident; Jacob, who lives in the shadow of his big brother; and Frankie, whose life is not as perfect as it seems. They're all at that awkward teen stage when every experience is fresh and every emotion is extreme. Each one is feeling love (or something like it) for the first time, as well as dealing with changing relationships with their families and confronting their hopes, dreams and expectations for the future.

I picked Cargo up after seeing the glowing review that Nic from Irresistible Reads gave it, and I was not disappointed. Au's prose is lovely, effectively evoking strong emotions and sensations, so that I could almost smell the sea air and feel the salt, sun and sand on my skin. Each sentence is a pleasure to read, the words carrying you along smoothly and dreamily; it's the perfect beach read, not because it's light and frothy but because it's truly relaxing. And, of course, it's set at the beach!

I really enjoyed the three stories, too; and especially appreciated the fact that although they were interconnected, they were still unique. Au weaves them together artfully, highlighting the way people touch each other's lives without even realising they have, as well as the fact that everyone has a story. You pass the same people every day, or recognise them from a distance, without ever knowing what they're going through. On top of this, it was interesting to be in the head of a character for one chapter and become aware of the way they see themselves, and then see them through the eyes of another character in the next chapter. The differing perspectives were never jarring for me; I enjoyed hopping from one head to the next. Overall, it was a simple but elegant read.

Rating: 4/5

Eye Candy

Jordan Rodrigues as Jacob
Adam Saunders as Alex
Charlotte Best as Gillian
Emily Browning as Frankie
Ryan Kwanten as James
Fine Print
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Published: August 2011
Get It: Booktopia

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Pash, Pick or Pass: A Mr Darcy Threesome

Here's a peek into my random thought processes (there's a point, I promise): This week I read Austenland (review to come soon), which made me think of Lost in Austen, which made me think of the different Darcy portrayals over the years, which made me want to do something slightly different for Pash, Pick or Pass this week and make it all about Darcy! Yep, rather than characters battling it out for our affections, I've decided to pit Darcy against Darcy.

The Contenders
Um, Mr Darcy, Mr Darcy and Mr Darcy... Oh, you want more information? Some visual aides? OK, OK, if I must...

Mr Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series

Mr Darcy, as played by Matthew MacFadyenin the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie

 Mr Darcy, as played by Elliot Cowan in the 2008 mini-series Lost in Austen

My Choices

Pash: Elliot's Mr Darcy. Did you see that picture?! Dare I say it, he pulls off a wet shirt better than Colin Firth. He also has a very sexy voice, and I wouldn't mind him whispering sweet nothings in my ear while we pashed.

Pick: Firth. Do I even need to explain this choice? He's Colin Firth. He IS Mr Darcy. Handsome, passionate, loving, intelligent, selfless, kind... *sigh*

Pass: MacFadyen. To be fair, I thought he was the least offensive thing about the movie (I HATED it) and made an OK Darcy, and even an OK Darcy is better than an awesome version of just about anybody else. Plus that mist scene is pretty swoony (if totally out of character and illogical, but I'm not here to rant). Still, between the three Darcys he's definitely the one I'd pass on.

Which Darcy would you pash/pick/pass?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

My Book Boyfriend: Jacob Coote

My Book Boyfriend is a weekly meme hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader, all about fictional boys who make us swoon. This week I'm going back to a book boyfriend who dominated much of my teens: Jacob Coote from Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta. As the only Marchetta book available for most of my teen years, I read it approximately 174 times (Saving Francesca came out when I was 17, but On the Jellicoe Road wasn't released til I was 20 - to my shame, I haven't had a chance to read it or any that followed yet, though they're all on my TBR list... but I digress). Now, Jacob is by no means perfect; in fact, sometime he's downright douchey, but other times he's gorgeously caring, and I rooted for him and Josie - and swooned over him - all the same. Call it hormones. The pull of the bad boy. The amazingness of Marchetta's writing. Whatever it is, I love me some Jacob Coote. Because I've seen the movie almost as many times as I've read the book, I always picture him as Kick Gurry.

Swoon-worthy Quotes

"To give you a run-down on Jacob is very hard. Sometimes he speaks really stupidly and doesn't know what I'm talking about, and other times he speaks really well, and I don't understand what he's talking about.
Sometimes he's a tough guy and I can imagine him bashing someone's head in and other times he's this real nice sensitive guy who smiles at babies and helps old women across the street. He smokes dope, drinks and I think he sleeps with a lot of girls, but on the other hand he really loves his family and has respect for people." 

"I sat up on the bed and put my arms around him, kissing him slowly. I felt his hand come up across my cheek and I realised that was what I loved about him. He was a loving person. His need to touch my face or hair made me feel closer to him than if we were making love."

"'We don't even love each other, Jacob.' We lay there in silence until he nudged me. 
'I do a bit, you know,' he said gruffly.
'You do what a bit?'
'You know. Like you... whatever... love you a bit..'
He seemed a bit flustered and I hugged him.
'I think I kind of love you too, Jacob.'
'I really missed you when you were in Adelaide that time and sometimes when I don't see you for a couple of days I think I'll go crazy,' he said honestly, looking at me as if he needed for me to understand."