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  1. Wicked The Musical

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    About the Show:
    From www.wickedthemusical.com.au
    One, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. How these two unlikely friends end up as the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good makes for the most spellbinding new musical in years.

    My Thoughts:
    If you follow this blog with any regularity then you will know that I have spent the past two weeks absolutely ecstatic to finally be seeing this award winning musical. I had very high hopes and expectations and Wicked meet each and every single one.

    The musical is based on the Gregory Maguire book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Like the book, the musical takes us behind the curtain to show us a side of Oz that Dorothy never saw. Wicked takes this politically turbulent Oz and creates a show with moments of wonderful humour and amazing drama.

    The sets and costumes were all fantastic. While it is not specifically explained, people familiar with the book will realise that the great dragon over seeing the stage and the clogs and clockworks worked in to the sets imply that the story may be being told by the Clock of the Time Dragon which, in the book, was a travelling show that acted out prophetic scenes with its tik-tok puppets.


    The song-writing, choreography, and singing were superb. My favourite musical acts had to be Dancing Through Life and Defying Gravity (and I bought a Defying Gravity t-shirt to show it). Including intermission, the show ran for about three hours and kept audiences riveted the entire time.

    Sydney's Capitol Theatre was an excellent venue. My friends and I were all the way up on the far left of N row but we still had an excellent, clear view. I had also seen The Lion King there in the past and am very happy with the venue to see future shows there.

    This exhilarating and vibrant musical is a must-see for Broadway lovers everywhere. I would gladly go see it again.

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

    As I had previously mentioned, I was in Sydney yesterday seeing the musical Wicked live on stage, so this weeks What's on the Bookshelf is being brought to you on a Monday instead of Sunday. I had a fantastic time and I will bring you a review of the musical later today and the book upon which it is based in a couple of days.

    In the meantime, check out this TV Spot advertising the musical!

    Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
    I don't usually try to get e-books as I prefer a physical book, but I had heard such great things about this book I just had to give it a try. Tyger Tyger is the first advance reader copy I have requested via NetGalley. At the moment I am about half-way through and I look forward to sharing both my thoughts on Tyger Tyger and my first NetGalley experience.

    Tyger Tyger will be on shelves November this year.

    The Divine Worshipper by Christian Jacq
    I recently mentioned that I want to try reading some more historical books. I haven't read any Christian Jacq books before but I spotted this one cheap on a sales table so I decided to give it a shot. Now, it is the second book in the The Vengenace of the Gods series, but luckily my local library has the first book available so I will definitely be grabbing that soon!

    Terra
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  3. Active Readers: A Glass of Fresh

    Friday, June 25, 2010


    Soda. Pop. Fizzy. Soft drink. Whatever you are inclined to call it, in the past two weeks I haven't had a single drop of one of these sugary, carbonated beverages. It was not really part of any planned diet or anything - although I do think it might definitely be contributing to some minor weight loss - but rather after being designated driver one night out at the clubs with friends I got home and realised that while I had not touched a drop of alcohol I was so wired from the caffeine and sugar from all of the Coca Cola I had drank. I figured that could not possibly be healthy, either.

    While I am also not drinking as much pre-packaged fruit juice one of my favourite ways to up my fruit intake and make sure that none of the fruit in the house goes uneaten is to make up some juice myself. Some of my favourite fruits to throw in together in the juicer are apples, oranges, watermelon, and grapes but there are plenty of other fruits you could throw in to the blend. The end result is what my mum likes to call "a glass of fresh" (a phrase I believe she has borrowed from Oprah) and tastes so much better than any bottled juice I have ever tried - not to mention the added benefit of not losing all the pulp.

    Definitely one of the more delicious ways to relax on a hot day or after a hard work out!


    Terra
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  4. Teaser Tuesdays

    Tuesday, June 22, 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!
    At first Galinda thought what she saw was some trick of the light, a reflection off the adjacent buildings covered in vines and flatmoss. But as Elphaba moved forward, lugging her own carpet bags, it became obvious that she was was green. A hatchet-faced girl with putrescent green skinand long, foreign-looking black hair.

    From page 91 of Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

    My tickets to go see the musical arrived in the mail yesterday! I am so excited!

    Terra
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  5. From the Back Cover:
    The Tales of Beedle the Bard contains five richly diverse fairy tales, each with its own magical character, that will variously bring delight, laughter, and the thrill of mortal peril.

    Additional notes for each story penned by Professor Albus Dumbledore will be enjoyed by Muggles and wizards alike, as the Professor muses on the morals illuminated by the tales, and reveals snippets of information about life at Hogwarts.

    A uniquely magical volume, with illustrations by the author, J.K. Rowling, that will be treasured for years to come.

    My Thoughts:
    The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a magical set of stories written for young witches and wizards. Harry Potter fans will remember that The Tales of Beedle the Bard, particularly the final story The Tale of the Three Brothers, played a significant role in the final book. Now it has been published so that we mere Muggles can also enjoy the tales enjoyed by wizard children for centuries.

    In the likeness of the tales of the Brothers Grimm, Professor Dumbledore reveals to us the ways in which these stories have evolved and been watered down over time for the coddling and moulding of impressionable young ones. Readers will greatly enjoy the tales of The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fair Fortune, The Warlock's Hairy Heart, Babbitty Rabbittyand Her Cackling Stump, and, of course, The Tale of the Three Brothers.

    My favourite of these fairy tales has to be The Warlock's Hairy Heart. This grizzly tale of a warlock who believed love to be foolish and that his wealth and power to be of higher value and hence turned to the Dark Arts to ensure that he would never fall in love.

    The Tales of Beedle the Bard is an excellent addition to the Harry Potter collection. One word of warning, much like in choosing which version of Little Red Riding Hood to share with a child, parents may want to read ahead before sharing this book with their young children in case they feel that tales of dismembered hearts and encounters with death may rattle younger readers.

    Also Check Out:
    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling as Newt Scamander
    Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling as Kennilworthy Whisp
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

    Terra
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  6. Musing Mondays

    Monday, June 21, 2010


    Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

    This week, MizB asks:

    "Name your two to three favourite genres (the ones that you read the most from)."

    My very favourite genre is easily fantasy. Anyone looking at my bookshelf can see that the fantasy genre dominates. From pure fantasy I would then say that my next two most read genres are really more sub and/or cross genres as I also read a fair bit of young adult fantasy and urban fantasy.

    This is part of the reason why I am looking to spice up my reading options more at the moment. My preferences clearly need a bit more variety injected to spice things up! I am trying to read more non-fiction at the moment, especially health and fitness books. As for fiction, I am definitely developing an interest for books with more historical elements.

    Terra
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  7. From the Back Cover:
    It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. The Leviathan is a living airship, the most formidable airbeast in the skies of Europe.

    Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

    Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

    With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way - taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.


    My Thoughts:
    Leviathan is Scott Westerfeld at his absolute best. He has imagined an alternate version of the world as it was at the start of World War I. There is a rift between the Darwinists, who live their lives by the scientific breakthroughs of Charles Darwin who has discovered DNA and how to manipulate it, and the Clankers who prefer to build great and powerful machines. In reality, Darwin, of course, did not discover DNA and all of its secrets. DNA was discovered in the 1950s and we are still learning much about it today. Likewise, the Clanker inventions are far ahead of their time. We are only now developing vehicles that walk and tracked, armoured tanks did not enter battle until 1916. Westerfeld fits in his historical alterations with ease and has found a perfect Steampunk (and Biopunk - I learned a new word!) blend of past events and futuristic technologies.

    The protagonists are likeable and balance well with each other albeit coming off young but learning a lot and maturing as they go. I did get a little of tired of Deryn/Dylan's frequent curses of "barking spiders" and "blisters" but understood that it was part her charade of trying to convince everyone that she was a male combined with her already tomboyish tendencies.

    Readers will be blown away by Westerfeld's amazing descriptions of Darwinist airbeasts and Clanker machines accompanied by stunning illustrations by Keith Thompson. Leviathan is an engaging read full of both history and imagination. I cannot wait for the release of the next book in series, Behemoth, later this year.

    Also Check Out:
    Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
    Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
    The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld

    Terra
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  8. What's on the Bookshelf

    Sunday, June 20, 2010

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

     Wicked by Gregory Maguire
    I'm going to see Wicked next weekend! I'm going to see Wicked next weekend! I'm excited. Can you tell that I am excited? =D

    Naturally, before seeing the stage show in Sydney I want to read the book and find out Maguire's take on things first.

    Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire
    It's the sequel to Wicked. See above.

    I really do love the rare occasions that I get to go to the theatre. I wish I could go more often.

    Now excuse me while I go do my happy dance.

    Terra
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  9. From the Back Cover:
    Golden Globe Award-winning actress Jennifer Garner is Sydney Bristow. Syd's not exactly your average grad student. Her life might appear normal, but she is hiding a secret life working as a spy for the CIA.

    Sydney's world is turned upside down when she learns she may work for the very enemy she thought she was fighting. Now she's entangled in a covert lifestyle where she is forced to question the allegiances of everyone, including those closest to her.

    My Thoughts:
    Before J.J. Abrams got us all Lost he took us undercover in the world of international espionage. Season One of Alias introduces us to Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) who works for what she believes is a black-ops division of the CIA until they murder her fiancé. She discovers that she was tricked into working for the bad guys all along and now must work as a double agent for the CIA, working to bring SD-6 down.

    Watching this show a second time around, I find that I am getting sucked in just as easily as I did when I first saw it being aired on television. Alias has a unique and non-traditional episode formatting where a new story will start around middway through the episode instead of at the beginning so that each show can end in a cliff hanger. This always used to keep me hanging on waiting for a new episode when the show was first out and it made it very easy to keep watching episode after episode on DVD. One slightly off-putting aspect of the formatting is how late the opening credits play. The opening credits can play anywhere from right after the opening scene but quite often are not thrown in until fifteen (15) to even twenty (20) minutes in, as though they nearly forgot to include them at all. Watching episodes consecutively I also got sick of the introductory "My name is Sydney Bristow..." sequence that plays at the very start of each episode.

    I really enjoy the plotline involving the creations of Milo Rambaldi, the (fictional) fifteenth century artist and inventor with seemingly prophetic abilities. Rambaldi adds a mystical element to the show setting it apart from other "spy-fy" dramas while remaining within believable boundaries.

    The soundtrack is also of great strength to the show and, combined with Garner's snappy wardrobe, you can almost forgive that so many valuable items and secrets are kept in nightclub basements.

    Terra
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  10. Teaser Tuesdays

    Tuesday, June 15, 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!
    His breaths were coming too quickly, and his skin was now more pallid than mine. Of course, I had become rosy and flushed with the life I had stolen from the guy I loved.

    From page 68 of Hourglass by Claudia Gray.

    I will try to get up a review tomorrow. Anyone who has been following my saga of numerous injuries might be aware that I am wearing a hand brace at the moment and it makes typing a bit awkward when it is on but it's a touch painful without it hence why things continue to be so sloooow here at the moment.

    Terra
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  11. What's on the Bookshelf

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

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

    The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
    The Angus & Robertson store in town is having a big moving sale - 40 to 50 per cent off! My budget is rather tight at the moment but seeing as I had been lusting after this book for ages I took advantage of the opportunity to snag it cheap. I really look forward to reading it. The book that comes before it, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, was actually the first book I reviewed for this blog!

    Alias Season One
    I loved this show back when it was on the air and am really enjoying the chance to watch it again. I've basically spent the last week revisiting season one instead of my usual reading and blogging tendencies. It is just so easy to get sucked in again! Look for my  review in the next day or so.

    Terra
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  12. In my first Active Readers post we talked about the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge but before we jump in and get exercising it is important to know how to start off your routine if you want to avoid injury. If you don't realise how important it is to warm up before your exercise routine and cool down afterward it can be pretty tempting to just throw yourself in to it and go straight for giving it all you've got. Making sure you include warming up and cooling down in your exercise routine can go a long way to helping to make sure that you avoid muscle strain and injury.

    Your warm up routine should last five (5) to ten (10) minutes with the goal to slowly increase your heart rate.
    The increased blood flow oxygenates your muscles and prepares them for the coming exercise. Your blood will vessels dilate which means less stress on your heart and the increased body temperature helps improve muscle elasticity. This site can give you some ideas on some easy to moderate warm up stretches to get you started.

    Cooling down at the end of exercise is just as important as warming up. For something that so many people overlook, I am now finising it be one of my favourite parts of working out - a good cool down routine always leaves me feeling good! The goal of your cool down routine is to slowly bring your body temperature, heart rate, and breathing back down to their normal levels. One way to cool down is to continue with your exercise but slow it down. Then follow that up with some giving those muscles a good stretch. This site suggests some easy to moderate cool down stretches to give you some ideas.

    Remember, guys, you should talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet of fitness regime. In the meantime I hope everyone is feeling happy, healthy, and active.

    Terra
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  13. Teaser Tuesdays

    Tuesday, June 8, 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!
    As he was growing up, the symbol had always surrounded Alek - on flags, furniture, even the pockets of his nightgown - assuring hum of who he was. But now it only filled him with despair.

    From page 218 of Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.

    Terra
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  14. What's on the Bookshelf

    Monday, June 7, 2010

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

    The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow
    Not a big book week for me but this one caught my eye when I was shelving at work. Set in 1688, The Last Witchfinder promises a "showdown between old superstition and new science."

    The cover also is part of what caught my eye with the quirky concept of the book details being worked into the image by having them on the book pictured on the cover.

    Terra
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  15. From the Back Cover:
    A copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them resides in almost every wizarding household in the country. Now, for a limited period only, Muggles too have the chance to discover where the Quintaped lives, what the Puffskein eats and why it is best not to leave milk out for a Knarl.

    Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Comic Relief, which means that the pounds and Galleons you exchange for it will do magic beyond the powers of any wizard. If you feel that this is insufficient reason to part with your money, I can only hope that passing wizards feel more charitable if they ever see you being attacked by a Manticore.

    - Albus Dumbledore


    My Thoughts:
    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is presented as an exact duplicate of the one owned by The Boy Who Lived and is complete with cute comments doodled in the margins by the Golden Trio (Harry, Ron, and Hermione).

    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is not only an A to Z guide to magical beasts, but an explanation of how they fit into the magical world and how they impact on its politics. Rowling cleverly uses this book to explore the nature of prejudice in the Wizarding world in regards to non-human sentient beings, helping further to bring the Harry Potter universe to life. The depth of the world that she is has created is really just amazing, as are the ways that she finds to express it.

    This quick and funny read is a must have for all Harry Potter fans. My edition was purchased bundled together with Quidditch Through the Ages in adorable packaging designed like a book carry bag.

    Also Check Out:
    Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling as Kennilworthy Whisp
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

    Terra
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