Tuesday 30 April 2013

Top Ten Words That Make Me Pick Up A Book

1. Whimsy. I love anything quirky, unusual, lovely and magical.

"Am I whimsical yet?"

2. Road trip. The open road, the endless opportunities, the music, the company, the food... who doesn't love a road trip? Or reading about one, at least.

I wish I was road tripping right now.

3. Contemporary. Lately I have been a bit addicted to contemporary fiction. I think it's because of my extended paranormal hangover.

OK it's not a book but Skins is contemporary. And also giving me a lot of feels right now.

4. Fairy tale. I love fairy tales in any form - originals, retellings, Disney adaptations...

Oooh, shiny...

5. Australia. It's nice to read books set in my home territory.

'Strayla mate.

6. New York. One of the best cities in the world, it naturally makes an awesome setting.

In New Yoooooooooooork (sorry, had to).

7. Russia. I've studied Russian history since high school and the place fascinates me. I love to read anything set there, especially during the time periods I'm familiar with.

Sorry if this guy haunts your dreams tonight.

8. Summer. Summer goes hand in hand with romance. And holidays. And ice cream. And lens flare cover photos.

I'm a sucker for the sun.

9. Classic. Although I haven't read many lately, I love collecting the classics. Especially when they have gorgeous covers.

A gorgeous guy doesn't hurt either.

10. Movie adaptation. I love reading books before watching their movie adaptations, and it's often the movie coming out that gives me the kick up the butt to actually pick up the book.

BRB crying...

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Review: Black Painted Fingernails by Steven Herrick

It's going to be hard for me to review Black Painted Fingernails because a) I've had reviewer's block which means b) I read this over a month ago, but also because c) It was a very "meh" book for me. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it - it was just OK.

James does everything right. Despite being an adult at uni, he's still very much a mummy's boy. He does what his parents want him to do and never puts a foot wrong. Until a random, wild girl named Sophie ambushes her way into his car (and, predictably, his heart) on a roadtrip into the country. James abandons his plans, his direction and all contact with his parents as Sophie takes him on the ride of his life. But she's hiding a secret, of course.

So... having summarised the plot, I can't think of much more to say about this book. There's nothing wrong with it, but there's nothing particularly great either. It's a quick read but a little boring in parts - especially the chapters told from the POV of James' parents, whose empty nest syndrome didn't particularly interest me. James himself was quite bland and Sophie's "dark" secret and wild personality felt underdeveloped. I just didn't connect with the characters in any significant way. I did enjoy the depiction of the landscape and country towns. But my favourite part of the book was the title. It made me want to paint my nails. I think that says it all, really.

Rating: 3/5

Fine Print
Published: 2011, Allen & Unwin
Get It:  Book Depository

Review: The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

 I almost didn’t read this book. If I didn’t already own it (I ordered it at the same time as The Queen of Attolia, I probably wouldn’t have. Because while I quite enjoyed the first book in this series, the second book didn’t live up to the hype by a long shot, and I was expecting this one to be even worse. One of my main problems with The Queen was how removed the reader is from the main characters, so when I found out that The King of Attolia is actually focused on the perspective of a new, somewhat peripheral character, I was less than enthusiastic to read it. I didn’t want to go through another book where I was even more cut off from the central characters and the heart of the story.

Luckily for me, I did already own this book, because I read it and I loved it. Having Costis, a secondary character for all intents and purposes, filter events through his interpretation and limited knowledge actually makes the removed nature of the narrative seen in the previous book work really effectively here. He’s close enough that you get a lot of Gen and even a decent amount of Attolia, but removed enough from the main plot that there are plenty of twists and the fact that there are twists is plausible. Whereas in The Queen (and even The Thief, to an extent) I found it difficult to stomach not having known important facets of the main character’s feelings and personality for the bulk of the story, it was much more palatable in The King to know as much as Costis, and learn information as he did. The reader is still very much a bystander, as in the previous books in the series, but here you are also immersed in the narrative via Costis.

I really liked Costis and his budding bromance with Gen. I was frustrated with Gen at first, but I should have known better. There's always more to him than meets the eye, the clever devil. He's such a brilliant character and definietly a highlight of this series. I also really like Irene as a character - she's so complex and interesting, and her relationship with Gen is fascinating and lovely. I wish there were more scenes between the two of them - we only really see what Costis sees - but what is there is amazing and powerful. It was worth reading this series for this book alone.

Rating: 5/5

Fine Print
Published: Greenwillow Books, 2006
Get It: Book Depository

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like More/Less

I'm ba-ack. After a pretty overwhelming week last week in which I didn't blog at all (terrible, I KNOW), I'm back with bells on. Or at least with a list. Of books I thought I'd like more...

1. Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. I was sooo excited when I heard the Fug girls were writing a YA novel. And I was sooo disappointed when I didn't enjoy it very much.

2. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. After enjoying The Thief, the first in this series, I was super keen to read The Queen, having heard from a bazillion and one people that it was ah-mazing, and even better than the first. Unfortunately it frustrated the hell out of me.

3. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I love, love, loved the movie version of this growing up, and I also adore Burnett's The Secret Garden. But the little princess in question drove me nuts when I read the book.

4. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. Lizzy Bennet fighting zombies?! I thought it couldn't get more awesome than that. But I was wrong. Because it wasn't awesome at all.

5. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Anna and the French Kiss quickly became a favourite (see below) so I had extremely high expectations for Perkins' follow-up novel. They were not met.

And some I thought I'd like less...

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. The lame name and lame cover turned out to be hiding an awesome book.

2. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Having never read Bray's work before, I didn't realise how amazing she is. I thought this would be a trashy read, and it was so much more.

3. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman. I avoided this book for a long time because it looked depressing and sappy. But although it was heartbreaking, I found it strangely uplifting and lovely.

4. The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan. I didn't think I enjoyed verse novels - until I read this one.

5. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. Not only is the cover really embarrassing, the plot didn't particularly interest me until I read some great reviews. So I gave it a chance and I was instantly hooked.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Friday 12 April 2013

Friday Link Dump: Gatsby Research, Shakespearean Insults And My Latest Obsession

-Some designers sketched their interpretations of Katniss' wedding gown. Is it November yet?

-Here's a peek into some of the research that went into the upcoming The Great Gatsby movie. Is it May yet?

-Jason Segel is writing a YA trilogy. I don't know how I feel about this.

-The second edition of the Game of Thrones Facebook feed is as hilarious as the first.

-Shakespearean insults combined with cat photos are surprisingly awesome. Or perhaps that's not so surprising.

-This Tumblr compiles movie and TV costumes that have been reused across multiple productions. I'm obsessed.

-Speaking of Tumblr, I finally watched the awesomeness that is Parks and Recreation, and naturally went on a Tumblr hunt. I found Tom Haverfoods, Cats that look like Ron Swanson and Hipster Parks and Rec. And then I giggled. A lot.

-Prepare to have your childhood ruined/mind blown by these current pictures of the actors in your fave 80s and 90s movies.

-One Disney fan created some Princess-inspired rings and they're mostly pretty and all expensive. 

-This artist gave famous paintings the Photoshop treatment and it's quite disturbing.

-Baby + puppies = squeegasm.

-You may have noticed a big blue button on the right hand column urging you to vote for this blog in the Best Australian Blogs competition. In case that was too subtle, I'm urging you again. Consider yourself urged. 

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Bookish Buys: Literary Clutches

I love these Olympia Le-Tan clutches, but they're waaaay, way, way out of my price range.

These Kate Spade designs are slightly less exxy... but still too much for me, alas.


Good thing Etsy have some pretty clutches that are much more affordable...

Emma clutch

Gatsby clutch

Alice clutch
Lolita clutch

And ASOS has some that are even cheaper!

Floral clutch
Novel clutch

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Top Ten Pre-Blog Reads

I find it a lot harder to remember the books I read before I started blogging. One of the reasons I actually started this blog was to keep track of what I read, and it has been helpful in that way. These are the books that stand out in my memory from the days before I recorded my thoughts on every book I read...

1. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. This was my favourite book for a long time. It would still hold that title, except I feel like it's been so long since I read it, I need to revisit it to reconfirm - or rethink - my love.

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I used to reread this every year - sometimes more than once a year. I haven't read it since I started blogging. I miss it.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I think this makes my top ten practically every week, no matter what the topic is. It's such a stunning book.

4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It gives me All The Feelings.

5. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Mr Thornton. 'Nuff said.

6. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. An absolutely haunting dystopia, it contains some hope in its tale of the strength of the human spirit.

7. The Princess Bride by William Goldman. This is another book that is a top ten repeat. It makes me smile every time I read it.

8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Strong characters, beautiful imagery, a fantastic plot and powerful writing. One of my all-time fave stories.

9. Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta. My best friend throughout my teen years, and still a great novel to read as an adult.

10. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding. I don't think any other book has made me laugh so much as this one.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Friday 5 April 2013

Friday Link Dump: Trailers, Hidden Rooms And The Anatomy Of A Book

 -The trailer for City of Bones is here and even though I didn't love the book, I'm kinda excited for the movie. It looks fun.

-I'm even more excited for the The Great Gatsby movie, especially after seeing the new trailer.

-I also can't wait for the new season of True Blood. It looks so awesome.

-When I grow up, I totally want a hidden room through my bookshelves and/or wardrobe.

-The anatomy of the book is pretty interesting.

-This is what Game of Thrones would look like if Westeros had Facebook. Meanwhile, you can learn Dothraki if you have enough time and, er, interest. And here's an entertaining remix featuring big Game of Thrones moments.

-The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is sadly over, but Hypable have listed their top ten episodes of the web series. I agree with pretty much all of them except their number one.

-Here's a  very cool way to deliver writing advice.

-Melina Marchetta is doing a Q&A session on Goodreads on April 30.

-Here are the real life people that inspired the looks of Disney characters.

-This parody of Taylor Swift's '22' is both hilarious and depressing. The latter mainly because this is basically my life at 26...

-But hey, informercial people failing at life in GIF form will make you feel better about your own life.

-And these The Golden Girls insults are well, pure gold.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Top Ten Fictional Crushes

When I saw this topic I knew I just had to participate in Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) this week. I love me some literary man candy. I used to do a meme called My Book Boyfriend so I have whole posts devoted to my many fictional crushes, but I managed to get the list down my faves

2. Captain Wentworth from Persuasion by Jane Austen. The lady sure knew how to write amazing heroes who write amazing letters. Swooooon.

3. Westley from The Princess Bride. Hes actually the perfect man.

4. Etienne St Claire from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I know hes not everyones cup of tea because of the whole, er, cheating thing, but he sure got my heart beating. He has great chemistry with Anna, is obsessed with history and does things like give books with hidden messages as gifts. Sigh.

5. Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Hes so broody but still has a great sense of humour. I adore the way he treats Jane with respect and meets her as an equal. Lets just not mention the whole crazy wife in the attic, though

6. Mr. Thornton from North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. He just wants to be a gentleman! And be loved. I could give him so much love.

7. Dimitri Belikov from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. Hes the strong, silent and sexy type, with badass fighting skills and a killer bod. Literally.

8. Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Hes a tall Viking vampire with a cheeky sense of humour and a lot of, er, talent. Ahem.

9. Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. He immaturely shows a girl he likes her by insulting her and spends the next five years trying to make up for it. Silly, adorable boy.

10. Alex Fuentes from Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. This book is totally cheesy but completely hot – just like its hero, Alex.