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  1. What's On the Bookshelf

    Sunday, January 31, 2010

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Go here to find out more.

    This week I only picked up two books but I have been interested in getting to read these for awhile now.

    The Princess Bride by William Goldman
    I was wishing for this a few years ago and now I finally have! Now, I will just need to see the movie as well. I cannot believe that I have gone all these years without reading this classic or seeing the movie.

    Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
    Let's see a raise of hands from everyone who thinks that they need a bit more steampunk in their lives.
    *Raises hand and waves entire arm around with considerable enthusiasm*
    While I haven't seen people shouting the name of this book from rooftops, I have heard good things around it and cannot wait to read it.


  2. '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 the 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'

    Go read this book. Right now.

    Occasionally you know that you are going to love a book within reading the first couple of pages. For me, The Name of the Wind was one such book. The Name of the Wind serves as a reminder of what makes good fantasy and has renewed my love of the genre.

    There is a vast difference between Kvothe ("pronounced nearly the same as "quothe"."), the little boy who grew up in a traveling troupe of performers, and "Kote", the keeper of a failing inn in a small town, and between them lies the tale of Kvothe "Kingslayer", "Bloodless", "Arcane". While there is action and adventure, this first book of the Kingkiller Chronicles is very much the story about the person Kvothe was before he became a thing of legends, where he came from and how he started on the path to the man he became and who he is today, while also being full of promise of great events to come in the following books.

    In realising that The Name of the Wind is a debute novel, it is a really amazing piece of work. It is clear that Rothfuss is dedicated to creating a world with it's own unique culture and history. Magic, or "sympathy" as it is known, has a role and as do some fantastical creatures. There is a fascinating aspect of seeking the truths behind superstitions, tales, and songs and through this Rothfuss has succesfully made the unbelievable aspects believable in terms of his reality.

    When I first picked up The Name of the Wind, I balked a little at it's length as lately I have not had so much time to sit and read longer books to give them the time and dedication that I felt that this one would deserve. However, once I picked it up I became engrossed in the world and life of Kvothe, finding it difficult to set the book down. While reading I experienced a range of emotions, from laughter to having tears burning in my eyes (minding that I do cry at the drop of a hat, so to speak) and found the role of music on Kvothe's life to be particularly touching. In addition, I found the language flowed well and that the novel was well paced, making for an easy read. Upon finishing The Name of the Wind I felt the kind of satisfaction that comes with having just finished reading something wonderful, having found a new favourite book, and the need to visit again in the very near future.

    Ignore any release dates that you have seen around for the second book of the Kingkiller Chronicle, The Wise Man's Fear, according to Patrick Rothfuss' website, all such dates are incorrect and he is still working on the book. I will be waiting patiently, however very eagerly, for the sequel.


  3. Teaser Tuesday

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
    Her voice was a whisper. Her voice was echo and emptiness. Her voice begged him to live again.

    From page 176 of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

    A bit spoilerish? I would say not really in the context of the story but I suppose that you are just going to have to read the book to find out that context for yourself, which I absolutely recommend that you do.

    I have done a teaser for this book a couple of weeks ago but it is only now that I have been able to give this book the attention it deserves. As a result there will be only the one review this week, which will be of The Name of the Wind, and sometime late in the week at that. This is so that I can enjoy the book without feeling rushed to finish it or, as I usually do, juggle it with reading several other books at once. I am really loving it so far.


  4. What's On the Bookshelf

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    It has been a bit of a slow week for me, reading wise. I have been running around looking at cars and in this heat that does not leave much energy left over for book hunting or even reading.

    However, after enjoying Dreaming Again, edited by Jack Dann, so much I decided to pick up another of the anthologies that he edited as it was available down at the library. I also hope to, sometime soon, get the chance to read some of his own actual writings.

    Gathering the Bones edited by Jack Dann, Dennis Etchison, and Ramsey Campbell.
    This anthology contains thirty-four (34) short stories of horror from Australia, Great Britain, and the United States. It looks like some really great authors have contributed to Gathering the Bones and I really look forward to reading all thirty-four short stories.

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Go here to find out more.


  5. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    All across the seven kingdoms there are people born with Graces, special skills above and beyond the norm. As a girl Katsa killed a man with her bare hands without even trying and from hence forth her Grace was recognised as killing. Her Grace is used in service to her king who has her punish any who displease him. While Katsa is feared by many for her horrific role, she is not without a conscious and in secret leads a Council with the goal to do good. One such mission leads her to Prince Po, a Graced fighter who is the only person that she has ever encountered who can match her in a fight. Together they seek the truth behind the kidnapping of Po's grandfather and discover a terrible secret that could be the downfall of all the seven kingdoms.

    A massive thank you must go to my brother for buying me this book because I really loved it. Kristin Cashore has made a wonderful debut with Graceling.

    The romance aspect was interesting in terms of Katsa's strong anti-marriage stance. Katsa views marriage as being like a cage, something that will tie her down and give a man ownership over her. Considering what Katsa then goes on to experience in a romantic relationship I found it disapointing that those experiences did not bring her to consider her views on marriage even if such considerations did not change her mind. Aside from the issue of marriage that could very nearly lend towards making her too strong, I thought that Katsa was well balanced as a strong female protagonist with both strengths and weaknesses, often tough but with occasional moments of softness.

    The fantasy aspect of Graceling I enjoyed thouroughly. The antagonist was well matched to provide Katsa with a believable opponant, seeing as she is near unmatchable as a fighter. This was such an important aspect because, in knowing Katsa's physical capabilities, it was difficult to ever worry that her physical journey, however harrowing, was truely a threat to her.

    The only other thing is that I would have liked Graceling to have been a bit longer, to have Cashore go into deeper detail with her world and the characters.

    Some of the twists in Graceling I could guess while others took me entirely by surprise. I thouroughly enjoyed Graceling and after reading the preview at the end of the book of the "prequelish companion", I cannot wait to get stuck into Fire.


  6. Wishful Wednesday

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Wishful Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bluestocking at The Bluestocking Guide.

     I have just finished reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore (review tomorrow!) which I loved. At the end of the book there was a preview of Fire

    Fire, Graceling's prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.

    Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

    Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.

    Wondering what makes it a companion book/prequel? Fire takes place 30-some years before
    Graceling and has one cross-over character with Graceling, a small boy with strange two-colored eyes who comes from no-one-knows-where, and who has a peculiar ability that Graceling readers will find familiar and disturbing...

    After reading Graceling I simply cannot wait to get stuck into Fire.


  7. Teaser Tuesdays

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

     Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    A brown flicker up high in a tree, a flicker that curled and lifted, different somehow from the way a tree moved; and the limb of a tree that swung in an odd way - bounced really, not as a wind would move it, but as if something heavy weighed it down.
    Her body moved faster than her mind, recognising predator and comprehending itself as prey. Instantly her dagger was in her hand. 

    From page 268-269 of Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I just finished this book. Look for my review on Thursday!


  8. From the moment that she first lay eyes on Daniel Grigori on her first day at Sword & Cross boarding school, Lucinda "Luce" Price has felt drawn to him as though a moth to flame. Daniel's attitude towards her is inexplicably hot and cold - cold and rude one moment and oddly kind the next.

    Luce finds it impossible to let Daniel go. There is something achingly familiar about him and something more that he is keeping hidden. All the while, dark, ominous shadows are stalking Luce and only she can see them. Is she insane or are they actually something very real and dark tied in with the bizarre death that landed Luce in reform school?

    I am happy to say that Fallen by Lauren Kate was better than I feared it might be. In this day of Twilight mania I find it very easy to expect very little out of these young adult supernatural romances. Fallen did, however, capture my interest after a woman came into the library where I was working ranting about how very good she thought it was.

    The novel is well paced and I particularly enjoyed the rate at which Kate chose to slowly reveal information. On that note, thank you to the publishers for not giving away every single little mystery on the back cover! Too many YA supernatural romances seem to give these things away in the blurb these days. Fallen starts with a very strong prologue and I absolutely loved the tone that it set. If only that tone could have carried as strongly throughout the rest of the book although it was still good.

    Luce's friendship with Penn developed well but in contrast other characters seemed to be forgotten. I am mostly speaking about Arriane. She was introduced as if she was going to be a significant character and seemed as though she would be one of Luce's closest friends but quickly seemed to fall to the wayside. While Arriane does make the comment "you've been hiding from me" as though to imply that she has been avoided by Luce, I still felt as though her absence went unjustified and prior to that moment I had been wondering why she had disappeared from the story.

    I thought that Kate could have upped the action just a bit. I can understand why she approached the big finale the way that she did but, for example, instead of Luce just mentioning that Arriane showed her how to dodge the security cameras why did we not get to see it? Was she nervous about getting busted? I couldn't help but think that little things like the could have been used to up the tension just a little bit more. Speaking of the security, for having all of those cameras around, the students at Sword & Cross sure seemed to still get away with a lot. If the security cameras are supposed to create a feeling of oppression it seemed like nobody was really watching.

    As for the romance, well, I confess I find it hard to get into a romance where the male love interest shares the same name as my brother but that is no fault of the author. The romance that Lauren Kate portrays is one of those where Luce feels intensely and is drawn to Daniel when she hardly knows him but Kate gives reason for this and it works in terms of the overall story. The love triangle also adds an interesting dynamic while trying to interpret Cam.

    I found myself quite enjoying Fallen and that it was easy to read. There was something that drew me in, even if I cannot say for certain what it specifically was. Something that kept me up reading late wanting to know what would happen next. Early on while reading I could not honestly see how Fallen could warrant a sequel and if Lauren Kate had chosen to do so I am sure that it could have been fine as a stand alone novel. However, Kate has set herself up for the upcoming sequel while leaving plenty of questions open yet still providing enough answers to satisfy for now so I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the next book, Torment.

    I also cannot help myself but to mention that I really love, love, love the cover on Fallen.


  9. Once again, I have only one book to add to my bookshelf this week. I should be making a trip to the library (for borrowing instead of work purposes) sometime soon but in the mean time I still have a massive reading pile to work through, hence why I am not in a rush to add a million more books to it.

    The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
    I did once try to read this as an ebook on my computer but I really am not a fan of spending hours sitting at a computer to read a book. All that staring at the monitor can make me feel a bit icky (remember OH&S rules guys! Give your eyes a frequent rest from looking at those computer screens!) so I never did get to finish it. I am such a big fan, however, of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical that I have always regretted never finishing the original book. I was frilled to find a copy pop up in my local bookstore and now cannot wait to read The Phantom of the Opera through to the end.

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Go here to find out more.


  10. Dreaming Again edited by Jack Dann

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Jack Dann first co-edited Dreaming Down Under with Janeen Webb. Ten years on, Dann returned with a second anthology of Australian speculative fiction, Dreaming Again.

    Looking at the list of authors within, Dreaming Again promises to be good. Certainly, one expects a lot from an anthology that begins with Garth Nix, ends with Isobelle Carmody, and hosts names such as Sara Douglass, Kim Wilkins, and more in between. All stories within are either written by Australian authors or are about Australia. Dreaming Again contains thirty-five short stories written by thirty-five very talented authors. That is too many stories for me to review one-by-one so I am choosing to focus on a select few.

    Dreaming Again serves up a variety of unique short stories promising to "celebrate the wild side of Australian fantasy" and ranging from dystopias to apocalypses to time travel to futuristic crime. It is hard to pick just one favourite story out of this collection. I absolutely loved The Jacaranda Wife by Angela Slatter, who created her own Australian legend surrounding the jacaranda trees. Speaking of legends, Manannan's Children by Russell Blackford and Conquist by Dirk Strasser were really enjoyable and Paradise Design'd by Janeen Webb was a really interesting take on the story of Adam and Eve, weaving dinosaurs into the picture.

    Jason Fischer's Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh wins for having the best title and was one of th emost amusing the tales, but out of the zombie stories surely Heere Be Monsters by John Birmingham was the best. I simply loved the concept in this one and how the past collided with the future.

    I found In From the Snow by Lee Battersby to be by far the most chilling. Strangely enough, as a fan of the flesh eating undead, cannibilism creeps me out everytime and combined with the pack mentality and family heirarchy this story sure scared me. People with an issue with blood might find This is My Blood by Ben Francisco and Chris Lynch to be a bit creepy but mostly I just found the culture presented to be fascinating. I really enjoyed the tone and setting of Nightship by Kim Westwood and particularly loved This Way to the Exit by Sara Douglass.

    Neverland Blues by Adam Browne is by far the very strangest of all of the short stories in Dreaming Again. In this futuristic story, Michael Jackson (this was published prior to his death, just for the record) has undergone so many changes he is no longer physically human and now seeks to draw in a young companion to travel through space with him. I could not decide whether I liked it or not. It was just so strange.

    The Constant Past by Sean McMullan is another of my favourites, with a modern day librarian trying to solve the mystery of a time travelling serial killer from the past. In contrast, I enjoyed Paul Collins' futuristic crime story about the murder of people's avatars, Lure, for the concept but overall it did not make it up into my list of favourites. Lost Arts by Stephen Dedman, on the otherhand, was a really enjoyable future crime story on the whole.

    Dreaming Again is an unique anthology packed with a diverse range of tales of zombies, vampires, aliens, and ghost in the past, future, and present. Dreaming Again is rarely dull but in honesty chances are that a reader is not going to love each and every single one of the stories but it is surely a worthwhile read and an excellent showcase of Australian fiction.


  11. Wishful Wednesday

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Wishful Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bluestocking at The Bluestocking Guide.

    This week I am wishing for an oldie but, so I hear, a goodie. I feel a bit like, perhaps, I have lived a deprived life having never read The Princess Bride by William Goldman or seen the movie.


    The Princess Bride is a true fantasy classic. William Goldman describes it as a "good parts version" of "S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure." Morgenstern's original was filled with details of Florinese history, court etiquette, and Mrs. Morgenstern's mostly complimentary views of the text. Much admired by academics, the "Classic Tale" nonetheless obscured what Mr. Goldman feels is a story that has everything: "Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles."


  12. Teaser Tuesdays

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

     Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

     The military presence as a whole might constitute The Man, but there would be individuals hiding in the whole, and some of them would be secret bloggers. They'd get the word out, and some would probably accompany their reports with camera-phone pictures: Joe McClatchey and his friends carrying signs reading END THE SECRECY, STOP THE EXPERIMENT, FREE CHESTER'S MILL, etc., etc.

    From page 149 of Under the Dome by Stephen King.

    I have decided to give Stephen King's latest novel a try. I have never considered myself much a fan of his but I am hoping that I will enjoy this one.


  13. What's On the Bookshelf

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    I am posting this a day later than I normally would due to the fact that yesterday I was busy partying hard and celebrating my 21st birthday!

    With all of the party preparations I did not have any time to spare for book hunting over the past week but people were very generous to me this birthday and I did receive one book among my gifts.

    Fallen by Lauren Kate
    I have been wanting to read this book after a woman came into the library where I work and ranted and raved to me about how good she thought it was.
    I also love the cover on this one.

    I also received a gorgeous ribbon bookmark with an owl charm on it along with Fallen. I shall have to try and upload a photo. I always love a nice bookmark. Not to ignore my other gifts, of course! I had expressed a desire for more silver jewelery and let's just say that now I shall never feel short of silver accessories ever again! I also received some beautiful gold jewelery and I type this post while sitting at a brand spanking desk!

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Go here to find out more.


  14. The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Azoth is a guild rat, struggling to survive in the slums of the city. Azoth dreams of becoming something more, of escaping life as a guild rat, of never having to scared again, of being strong. He apprentices himself to the best wetboy - an assassin gifted with Talent - in the city. Under the guidance of Durzo Blint he sheds his identity of Azoth and becomes Kyler Stern so as to navigate a world of politics, magic, and death.

    The Way of Shadows is the first book in The Night Angels Trilogy by Brent Weeks. I really enjoyed this book but there were a few issues that hindered my ability to absolutely love it. I get the impression that in the author's mind there is a fully detailed and complex world but Weeks does not clearly communicate this onto the page. Things are often not clearly defined, leaving the reader attempting to piece together this world and what role is played by who in an already complex narrative. At times it threatened to become just too confusing. There was also a certain significant plot twist that, when looking back, I didn't feel that there was enough, if any, foreshadowing for. Maybe I would find it on a reread but with trying to keep track of everything else I could not recall it.

    There was something that I found distinctly Shakespearean about how the story unfolded, which I rather liked. Indeed, in the extras at the back of the book, Weeks himself names Shakespeare as an influence. I quite enjoyed reading the extras, in fact. Weeks says that Durzo Blint is his favourite of his character and I think that he is mine too followed by Logan Gyre. Brent Weeks has written some fantastic characters, although sometimes conforming to certain archetypes, with some great conflict and contrast between them.

    The Way of Shadows is well paced and there were some great moments of suspense and tension, moments where I just couldn't put this book down until I knew what happened next. Just clean up that world building a bit and The Way of Shadows would be a really fantastic book.


  15. Wishful Wednesday

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    Wishful Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bluestocking at The Bluestocking Guide.

    You may recall my previous post about online sitcom, The Guild, starring Felicia Day who plays a socially maladjusted MMO player dealing with life - both virtual and real - and her guild mates. Recently it has announced that the show is getting it's very own comic and Dark House has released a preview of two different covers for issue one.

    What do you guys think? I quite like the one on the top as it shows the whole guild as their MMO avatars but then  the one on the bottom has that hint of when fantasy mixes with your reality.


  16. Teaser Tuesdays

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

     Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    "The king is an incompetent, treacherous, foul-mouthed child, so I am going to make this very clear. I'm a first-rate wetboy. He's a second rate king. I won't work for him."
    From page 154 of The Way of Shadows, Book One of The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks.


  17. Avatar

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    After the death of his brother, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) takes his place in a mission on Pandora, the lush vegetated moon of a distant planet. There Sully must help to drive away the native population, a race called the Na'vi, so that their homeland can be mined for resources. To do so he takes control of genetically-engineered Na'vi body and Sully finds himself in a unique position to get close to the Na'vi. If he succeeds in his mission Sully will be granted the medical attention to fix his spine and allow him to be able to walk once more. However, as he learns their ways and finds a place among their people Sully becomes torn between his duty to his own people and the bond he has formed with the Na'vi tribe.

    My friend and I got caught out when going to the movie theatre to see this. We had foolishly thought that, even though it is school holidays, there would be no way that we would miss out on an early morning movie session on a Tuesday. Surprise, surprise! That session was sold out and the line waiting to buy tickets was still massive. The next session only had seats remaining in the front row but we didn't want our perspective of the 3D to suffer if the seats were situated too far forward. We ended getting in to the 1:45PM session and were in the third row but the view was fine. Next time I am purchasing my tickets online in advance. You get to skip the line and it only costs a few dollars extra.

    Anyway, to cut to the chase, this movie was good. Very good.

    The plot is not groundbreaking original and the message is simple but it works. I would have liked the romance to be less inevitable and found the Corporal to be pretty stereotypical and two-dimensional in the role of the antagonist. You could argue that the plot is too black and white. That the Na'vi are portrayed as being too good and pure and the human race is portrayed as too over-the-top power hungry, money hungry, and war hungry hence resulting in the aforementioned caricature-esque antagonist. I suppose, though, that it achieves the desired moral statement even though it is not very complex. That aside, I liked the rest of the characters and enjoyed learning about the Na'vi culture.

    The film is a visual treat. According to IMDb, Avatar is "40% live action and 60% photo-realistic CGI." The CGI is of excellent quality and I was really impressed by the approach to the 3D. It is not in your face with things "jumping out of the screen", so to speak, flying at your head. It was more subtle, adding a bit of extra pop. My brother went and saw it at the IMAX theatre in Sydney. Lucky, lucky him. He said that it looked amazing.

    I found it very easy to let go of the plot issues and just enjoy this movie for what it is. I would gladly go see this again and may yet actually do so and it is very rare that I will spend the money to go see a movie twice at the theatre so that is saying something. In very least I will definitely be adding Avatar to my DVD collection when it is released. This is one movie that I look forward to exploring the behind-the-scenes extras on. I hope there will be a commentary. Personally, I am a bit of a fan of commentaries.


  18. Aussie Author Challenge

    Sunday, January 3, 2010

    Booklover Book Reviews is hosting a great challenge featuring Australian authors!

    The challenge runs from 1 January 2010 and ends 31 December 2010 and has two different levels: Tourist and Fair Dinkum!

    As an Australian, I really should be showing more support for Australian authors. Hence, I am going to aim for the Fair Dinkum level of the challenge. The goal for Fair Dinkum is to read at least eight books by a minimum of five Australian authors. Here is my tentative list of my minimum five Aussie authors:
    • John Marsden
    • Garth Nix
    • Isobelle Carmody
    • Kim Wilkins
    • Tim Winton

    I am not going to pick which titles I will read just yet. There are high chances that I might change my author picks or expand the list.

    Click here to visit the Booklover Book Reviews site for details about how to join in!


  19. All across the United States, a strange phenomenon has been taking place. Sometimes when teenagers die they come back to life. Only, returned from the hands of death, these teens are no longer the same. They move differently and speak with difficulty, struggling to find a place in a society that fears and rejects them and provides no laws to protect them from people who would like to see them dead for good.

    Phoebe is a student at Oakvale High, a school attempting to be more welcoming of the "differently biotic." Pheobe is just your average goth teen with a crush, only the boy that she is crushing on is dead. But there is something different about Tommy Williams and Pheobe is determined to forge a connection with him.

    I have always been a fan of zombie stories, what with the desperation of survivors huddled together in their hideaway listening to the moans of the undead outside who will inevitably break in and devour their flesh, so I find this latest trend of wanting to take a zombie as your date to the school dance to be a little... odd. Oh sure, I enjoyed Never Slow Dance With a Zombie by E. Van Lowe enough for it's cute quirkiness but Daniel Water's debut novel Generation Dead is aiming for a deeper social commentary but therefore trips over itself with things like Phoebe being a stereotypical goth who writes poetry, spikes her hair, and of course becomes fascinated by the dead guy. I could suppose that Water's aims to look at how the dead rising from their graves impacts upon a sub-culture that takes an interest in the theme of death (I do not know much about the goth sub-culture, but Waters wants me to believe that all goth persons are very interested in death) but then again, seeing as he is trying to commentate on diversity and discrimination it seems odd to make the main character so very stereotypical. Then there is the name dropping of goth bands every few pages. Apparently when you die your taste in music also changes to reflect your undead state.

    I found Generation Dead quite hard to get into at first. I made my way about ninety pages in before putting it aside for a week. However, when I came back to it I did find it better going and was able to finish the book in one sitting.

    Generation Dead does have some good going for it. I think that the concept is quite good and has a lot of potential if only there were fewer stereotypical characters (and less band name dropping). Phoebe and her friend Margi's history with the now dead Collette, for example, was a plotline that really took my interest. I enjoyed how the details were revealed and how it was impacting on Margi but thought that it should have had more influence on Phoebe as well. The use of the study group aimed at developing a better understanding of the "differently biotic" allowed for some interesting dialogue, as well.

    I have come away with mixed feelings on Generation Dead. Daniel Water's has a good concept here but the details could use some polishing and perhaps did not engage me as well as it could have.


  20. What's On the Bookshelf

    Saturday, January 2, 2010

    Here we are for the first look at my bookshelf for 2010. I'm posting this a bit earlier than usual, but what the hey? Why not? You will get a nice shiny new review tomorrow instead.

    Graceling by Kristin Cashore
    My brother bought me this for Christmas. Thanks bro! It's straight off of my wish list and exactly what I wanted!

    The Road by Cormac McCarthy
    I picked this one up during the post-Christmas sales and I'm really looking forward to reading it. Yes, I bought one of the movie cover editions but I've been on a total Lord of the Rings kick seeing as I received the extended editions of the movies for Christmas so I don't mind a little extra Viggo.

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Go here to find out more.


  21. Hello 2010!

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    Happy new year, everyone! Or, if you are in a part of the world that is not yet in the future, I hope that you are enjoying wrapping up 2009.

    I am now back from my hiatus with some great reviews lined up thanks to all of the reading that I got done. Over the next few days keep an eye out for my reviews of books like Generation Dead by Daniel Waters and The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks. I'll also be getting up my review of the movie Avatar. I am now finally making my way through Dreaming Again edited by Jack Dann and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

    This year I will also be reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore and finally continuing on with Isabelle Carmody's Obernewtyn series. I hope to revisit the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien and, in light of the upcoming movie, reread The Tomorrow Series by John Marsden, one of my all time favourite authors. Time allowing I also intend to once again read the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. I also look forward to giving Stephen King another try with his latest release Under the Dome. I am also thinking that it is high time that I give James Patterson a go with his new book Witch & Wizard, written with Gabrielle Charbonnet, catching my attention.

    I am also very much looking forward to the final volume of the Return to Labyrinth manga being released. Squee!

    Here's to a new year filled with many great new books!


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