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Archive for the tag “John Green”

Short Stories, or, Review-Palooza!

It’s become clear that I read a lot of books. This year, I’m averaging one book every three days, across all sorts of formats, including manuscript, eBook, audio book and, of course, my true love, the paper book.

In order to keep them fresh in my mind, and to deliver opinions about them in a somewhat timely manner, I’m going to do bite-sized reviews of a recent selection.

Dear reader, dive in:

What Came Before – by Anna George

whatcamebeforeOof. This was a hard read. Following the spiral of a gradually abusive relationship, What Came Before challenges us to look at what we expect – and what we’ll accept – from those we love. Ambitious and confronting, it’s not for everyone, but is a particularly powerful novel.

threenhalf fox


Looking for Alaska – by John Green
lookingforalaskaUK.indd
John Green’s first novel has all the hallmarks of his later work. Teens who act like teens (bright, loyal, apathetic and often a wee bit pretentious), a simple narrative that allows the beauty and poignancy of his prose to shine, and a quietly wrenching third act make this a must read for older teens and fans of this brand of honest, contemporary YA. (Also, have you read The Fault in Our Stars yet? If not, what are you even doing with your life??)

threenhalf fox

Words of Radiance – by Brandon Sanderson

wordsofradianceThe Way of Kings (Parts One and Two) and their sequel The Words of Radiance are perfect examples of high fantasy with truly epic scope and huge payoffs. If you’re a fantasy reader, you’d be foolish to go past Brandon Sanderson. He and Patrick Rothfuss are the best current fantasy writers around. I’m repeating myself and I don’t care: Brandon Sanderson is the real deal. He is astonishing, and if you haven’t read him, you’re missing out.

five fox


Wool and Dust – both by Hugh Howey

dusthoweywoolhowey

I’m a little late on this bandwagon but Wool and its sequel Dust are something you definitely want to experience. Howey’s exploration of a possible future after the world has been destroyed by nuclear warfare is sophisticated, claustrophobic and nail-bitingly tense. It’s the kind of sci-fi you’ll rant excitedly about in turn. I listened to these as audio books, and the SECOND I finished Wool I had to find out what happened next. four fox

Have you read any of these? I’ve covered a range of genres – what’s your pick of the above?

The Fault in Our Stars – Movie React/Review

Guys. Guys! YOU GUYS! I’VE SEEN THE FAULT IN OUR STARS!

In the coolest job perk EVER, about two weeks ago I got to go to an advance screening of the Movie Most Likely to Make Grown Humans Ugly Cry in Public.

Edit: BE PREPARED. I’m not kidding. I brought these with me:TFiOSTiss

There is next to zero chance you haven’t already noticed me obsessing about this book, and about the upcoming movie. And I’m SO GLAD I DID, because I freaking well adored it!

It’s pretty rare for a movie adaptation of a book you adored beyond all reason, I mean that you enjoyed, to not suck, and I am so thrilled to be able to opine that the TFiOS movie absolutely did NOT suck. It was everything I wanted it to be. And that’s saying A LOT.

I mean, this guy:

 

And this lady:

 

And, just, YOU GUYS. THEY WERE WONDERFUL. EVERYTHING WAS WONDERFUL AND NOTHING EVERYTHING HURT.

I’m not going to lie, there were feels and they were intense.

From about halfway through – you can surely guess where – I cried pretty steadily ’til the end. And I didn’t cry nearly as hard as others.

(Quick aside: Supernatural really has a gif for everything.)

I will say, however, that it was that necessary, cathartic, releasing kind of crying, when you’re going through something you wouldn’t miss out on for the world and your tear ducts just have to bear the brunt of it.

Seeing this with a cinema full of my colleagues was… a unique experience, making it both better and worse. I’ll let you know if it’s any different when I see it for a second time.

What? You didn’t think I’d be content with one screening, did you?!

Read the book. Watch the trailer. See the movie – out in Australia on June 5th!

Okay? Okay.

Sensational Quote Sunday

Some books change your life. They change the way you see the world. They do this not only with the story as a whole, but sometimes with an idea, a beautiful phrase, or even a word, that resonates with you the way nothing has before.

Sensational Quote Sunday is my way of paying homage to those books that remind me every day why I love reading.

Today, I have two words for you.

“Okay?” “Okay.”

Yep, that’s it. And you know what they are, right? Great!

As a bonus, have a trailer that I’ve seen more often than is healthy this week. I am going to ugly cry in public this June. There’s just no way around it.

Still okay? (I’m not sure if I am!!)

Fangirl – by Rainbow Rowell

ArthurRainbow Rowell’s in the midst of a surge to fame, taking the YA genre by storm. The effects ripple out further than YA, too, with John Green publicly commenting on how much he loved Eleanor & Park. Needless to say, I’ve been meaning to read her work for a while now. I started with Fangirl because even the name is something I identify with!

Cath’s always been the quiet one, overshadowed by her twin sister, Wren. Online, though, it’s a completely different story. Cath’s in love with the world of Simon Snow, a wildly successful series of books and movies about a teen wizard (yes, the echoes of Harry Potter are there for a reason). Like a lot of fans, Cath’s not satisfied with the limited look into Simon’s world she gets in the canon. Writing fanfiction about Simon Snow is a way to stay connected, and Cath and Wren are widely reputed as the best writing duo around.

When the twins go to college, Wren’s looking to break out of the virtual world and experience the ‘real world’; something Cath just can’t understand. Their writing is just as real and just as important as anything happening out there. She keeps posting updates to her fic, feeling more and more involved with her online fans (who number in the thousands), and less connected with Wren than ever. This whole college thing is certainly life changing. But no one mentioned that it can be a change for the worse. Engorgio! (Or, embiggen, more this way):

The Impossible Knife of Memory – by Laurie Halse Anderson

ImpossibleHayley and Andy have never had what you’d call a normal father-daughter relationship. Andy’s been away at war most of Hayley’s life, and now he’s back, but in many ways still as far away as ever. They’re managing, for the most part. After a few years being home schooled by her father on the road, Hayley’s going to school for the first time. Andy’s working, sometimes. The nightmares make that hard. The only thing that helps is the booze – but that has consequences too, for him and his daughter both.

Hayley’s dealing, looking after herself and her dad, as far as she can. After all, she’s only ever been able to rely on herself. Letting people in, letting people help, means letting yourself get let down. Now, though, it seems she might need that help more than she needs to protect herself. Let it Go, Let it Go, Can’t Hold it Back Any More:

The Fault in Our Stars

Wow.

Have you guys seen this?

A 17-year old up and coming actor from Australia, Troye Sivan, has recorded a song inspired by John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.

Not only is the song gorgeous, Troye filmed the video in the Princess Margaret Hospital’s oncology ward, spending a day with some kids who really understand.

There are options to buy the song, and 100% of the proceeds are going directly to the Princess Margaret oncology ward.

Have a look – this guy is amazing.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters I Would Crush On If I Were Also A Fictional Character

top ten

Hosted by the awesome folks as The Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme celebrating all things book.

This week, we’re talkin’ about book boyfriends. Those swoon-worthy guys that our favourite heroines get to ride off into the sunset with. Or perhaps the jilted suitor who loses out in a YA love triangle. These are the top ten characters I’d have a huge crush on if I were also a fictional character:

(This one is REALLY hard! Ten?! I only get ten crushes? WHAT MADNESS IS THIS?!)

SoM

Because like Nemo at the Moonlight Library, I love a badass who won’t compromise who they are to be with you, and loves you fiercely for who you are too.

CityofBones

Mmm. Jace Wayland. Cassandra Clare has a gift for writing slightly broken, slightly bad boys who I just want to look after. Dammit. I also want to sneak in a mention of Will Herondale, here, from Clare’s Infernal Devices series. I’m team Will all the way.

hunger

In Suzanne Collins world I’m a Peeta girl. He looks out for those he cares about but doesn’t let that stop Katniss being her own person (and a fairly awe-inspiring one at that).

fault

Augustus Waters. What a freaking sweetheart. He’s smart, considerate, irreverent, funny, and unflinchingly alive. One of the best book boys out there.

Vampire Academy

Dimitri Belikov. Who wouldn’t crush on this sexy, strong, and completely kickass Russian dhampir? I’ll take two!

Name of the Wind

I’ll let Kvothe introduce himself: “I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.”  I say again: if you haven’t read The Name of the Wind, you are seriously missing out.

P&P

Because if you don’t think Fitzwilliam Darcy is one of the most crush-worthy characters of all time, then you’re wrong.

(On a related note, if you haven’t discovered the completely delightful adaptation of Pride and Prejudice called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, head on over and check it out on YouTube. Just amazing!)

One Day

Dexter is far (far) from perfect. But he tries, even after failing once again. He keeps trying for Emma’s sake. That’s my kind of crush. (And this is a gorgeous, heartbreaking, wonderful book.)

gift

Cadvan is prickly, close to overwhelmed with the burdens he must bear, powerful, and so essentially good that it’s very hard to see him struggling. He’s not only Maerad’s saviour, but her mentor, her best friend, and her family. His devotion is so darn crush-worthy!

indigo

I didn’t want to double up on authors but couldn’t resist. Adrian‘s got issues, for sure. He’s also smart, brave, artistic, and incredibly loyal. I’d crush all over him.

Who are you guys crushing on? Do you like any of mine? (It’s okay if you don’t, less fictional competition for my fave fictional characters’ fictional affections can only be a good thing!) ~_^

Hit me up with your excellent TTT lists in the comments, lovelies!

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books I Recommend The Most

top ten

Hosted by the awesome folks at The Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme celebrating all things book.

This week, they’re asking what ten books you recommend the most. I LOVE this question! I recommend books all the time – it’s the best part of my job. We often get customers looking for their next book, or trying to find a present for someone. I have to be able to recommend books over a range of genres, and it’s a fabulous opportunity to share books I love with others, passing on the obsession. These are my go-to recommends:

peculiar

The Peculiar is my top pick for 10-15 year olds who enjoy fantasy, both boys and girls. It’s a steampunk faerie tale, and has some of the most glorious language I’ve ever seen, let alone in YA. Absolutely wonderful book.

promise

Promise was the debut crime novel of a former Australian crime reporter, Tony Cavanaugh. Smart, creepy, exciting crime set in Queensland that was good enough to distract me from the real world all day when I couldn’t quite finish it in time before having to go back to work. (The sequel’s stellar, too!)

finalempireBrandon Sanderson is amazing. His magic system in Mistborn is probably the best, most well-established that I’ve come across. And the scope of his storylines is beyond ambitious. The trilogy is complete and infinitely satisfying – this book and this series is a sure thing.

(Actually, I’ll recommend either Mistborn or The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss interchangeably as my never-fail fantasy series. At work we’ll usually have run out of one or the other because I so regularly sell them through, so whichever’s there that day gets my plug!)

This is the old-school cover, the one I have!

I see your Caelena from Throne of Glass and raise you Yelena, from Maria V Snyder’s exceptional YA Fantasy series. She’s one of the original badass heroines, kicking butt and taking names before it was a big deal that she was a woman. This series is phenomenal for YA fantasy fans of all ages, and I keep passing the obsession on.

Rosie

A new favourite, this is one I recommend to customers who like contemporary romance/chick lit but want something a little smarter and more memorable than average. The Rosie Project fits the bill and then some. There are no clichés here, and this book was such a great experience.

stars

Do I even need to explain this one? I recommend it to teens (usually 14+, given the tragic nature of the story) and make a point of telling their parents to read it too. I’ve never come across anyone who hasn’t been deeply affected by how insightful, honest, painful and simply beautiful this one of a kind book is. John Green has delivered an absolute masterpiece with The Fault In Our Stars.

watermelon

Marian Keyes is chick-lit with heart. For women (hey, not stereotyping, just basing it on who I sell this to) who want drama, heartache and for everything to be mostly okay at the end, no-one fits better than Marian. Her grasp of the complexity of human emotions make her novels stand out.

woman

Not only do I recommend this all the time, I’ve bought about five copies for family and friends. Caitlin Moran is hilarious (think Kaz Cooke, Australians!), but also intelligently articulates truths about life as a woman that we don’t necessarily pay enough attention to. The perfect gift for your best friend, or a woman you don’t know all that well but need to find something for. Clever, sarcastic, sassy, and insightful.

wolf

A memoir I recommend to customers looking for something a little different. Scott Johnson‘s dad was a spy, working for the CIA through the Cold War. How this affected Scott, and his relationship with his Dad makes for compelling reading. Added to this, Johnson’s journalistic background is evident – his writing is evocative and often unexpectedly gorgeous.

SabrielNew

I have to have Garth Nix in here! Whenever possible, I’ll introduce someone to my favourite author. Nix’s work is just as good for teens as adults, and I’ve read the Old Kingdom trilogy, starting with Sabriel, more than a few times. Nix’s world-building, characters and inventive magic systems make this a Fantasy/YA Fantasy crossover series that stands the test of time. Unmissable. (Also, I couldn’t be more excited about the forthcoming – 2014 – release of Clariel, the fourth book set in this universe!)

Who are your go-to authors to recommend? I’d love to know what you think of my old reliables!

Sensational Quote Sunday

Some books change your life. They change the way you see the world. They do this not only with the story as a whole, but sometimes with an idea, a beautiful phrase, or even a word, that resonates with you the way nothing has before.

Sensational Quote Sunday is my way of paying homage to those books that remind me every day why I love reading.

To kick this off, a quote from the unforgettable, unsurpassed The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green:

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This is only one of the moments I adored in TFiOS. Are there any quotes from this book that meant something to you? What are some of your favourite bookish quotes?

Image credit goes to ionlydatealiens at Tumblr.

Every Day – by David Levithan

every dayI’ve been hearing a lot about this book lately, from reviews to recommendations. I’m a huge fan of John Green, and he and David Levithan have worked together in the past on ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’. (Which I’ve not yet read.) In itself this association is enough for me to be interested in checking out David Levithan’s work. This week I read Every Day:

‘A’ doesn’t think his life is all that strange any more. All right, to anyone else it’s probably a little weird, but he’s used to it. You see: every morning A wakes up in a different body. And each day he has to live as whichever person he’s residing in, just for the day. When he goes to sleep (or when midnight rolls around) A’s turfed out to the next body. This has been the case A’s whole life, and he’s learnt to cope: disrupt his host’s life as little as possible, make it through the day, and never, ever, tell anyone.

Until one fateful day, when he’s Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend: Rhiannon. Just another girl. An extraordinary girl; a girl A can’t forget. In spite of his better judgement, A reaches out, yearning for a connection that lasts longer than one day. But even if Rhiannon can accept his wildly unbelievable story, is it possible to love someone whose exterior changes every day? Don’t You Forget About Me:

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