January Wrap Up:

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I’ve read a good number of books this month, flying through the first three, and then slowing down for the second part of January. Because of school starting again, and I’m now in senior, the workload has gone up a crazy amount, which means sadly, not much time for books. 😦   I’ll hopefully be able to squeeze a few in here and there, and will try and post relatively regularly.


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January was a MASSIVE month for buying books, mostly because of the Bookfest. Usually, it won’t be anywhere near this month, but that doesn’t mean I can’t write about this one… I think, if my counting skills are correct we bought a total of 71 books this month!! Crazy I know, and we already didn’t have enough space… Oh well, you can never have too many I guess. Here’s a list of the ones I’m most excited about:

  • Fool’s Errand – Robin Hobb
  • Fool’s Fate – Robin Hobb
  • Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb
  • Royal Assassin – Robin Hobb
  • Ship of Destiny – Robin Hobb
  • Conrad’s Fate – Diana Wynne Jones
  • Mixed Magics – Diana Wynne Jones
  • Are You Seeing Me – Darren Groth
  • The Girl who Saved the King Of Sweden – Jonas Jonasson
  • The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
  • The Secret History – Donna Tartt
  • The Dante Club – Matthew Pearl
  • The Lady of the Sorrows – Cecilia Dart-Thornton
  • The Battle of Evernight – Cecilia Dart-Thornton
  • The Iron Tree – Cecilia Dart-Thornton
  • The Well of Tears – Cecilia Dart-Thornton
  • The Devil Wears Prada – Lauren Weisberger
  • Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Haven’t read any of them yet, (been trying to read from the bottom of my pile up) but they will be read soon I promise. Seriously excited for some of these books. *Cough* Six of Crows *Cough*.


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January brings lots of new young adult, and just in general, fiction books, which is a wonderful way to start off the year. The ones I am most excited about are:

  •  Wayfarer – Alexandra Bracken  Passenger #2 (Jan 3)
  • Carve the Mark – Veronica Roth (Jan 17)
  • History of Wolves – Emily Fridlund (Jan 3)
  • 4 3 2 1 – Paul Auster (Jan 31)
  • Caravel – Stephanie Garber (Jan 31)
  • Dawn Study – Maria V Snyder (Jan 3)

Yes Veronica Roth has released a new novel this year, and I do want to try it out. Hopefully it doesn’t end the way her last series did… History of Wolves also looks pretty good, so hopefully I can get my hands on that one.


And that’s it for this month. This is my first Wrap Up, so feedback is greatly appreciated!! I’m trying out some new blog topics (hopefully) this year, so please, please leave some comments if you can. Hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and is ready to read lots of books in the months ahead!!

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Fool’s Assassin

Author: Robin Hobb fools assassin.jpg

Pages: 688

Genre: Epic fantasy, fiction, magic, adventure

Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown.

But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost more…

Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger?

Suddenly Fitz’s violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19288321-fool-s-assassin


Thoughts: I’ve had this book waiting on my shelf for ages now, and finally decided to try it this week. Having not read any Robin Hobb before, (I probably should have, seeing as this is like the 4th series in the collection, but did I know that when I started? Nope) Anyway, it was a vast world that had been created, and I really look forward to reading more in the series, and the rest of the Realms of the Elderings.

“That, I think, is the shock of any relationship ending. It is realizing that what is still an ongoing relationship to someone is, for the other person, something finished and done with.”
― Robin HobbFool’s Assassin

When I began, I will admit, it was difficult to really get into the story. I think maybe it would have made more sense if I had read the books before it, but to me, it was just a jumble of names, and their relationships with other names. Especially the prologue. I was so confused as to what was going on, but, having read other giant fantasy series before, like Lord of the Rings and Eragon, I knew this was a sign of an intricate world that I would get to know. And get to know it, I did. After the first few chapters, I was getting really into it, and found it hard to put down.

“I will always take your part, Bee. Right or wrong. That is why you must always take care to be right, lest you make your father a fool.”
― Robin HobbFool’s Assassin

I did find that I was sort of just reading, and absorbing the words, and nothing was actually happening, but weirdly, I still felt compelled to read it. Really, most of Fool’s Assassin is just a recount of Fitz, Molly, and their household’s life. And with any other book, wouldn’t this be really boring? I don’t know whether their lives were just exciting, or it was a clever way of slowly building tension, up until about the last 3 chapters. And then everything happens. I found myself hunched over trying to read faster than I actually could, cramming the last pages in as I found out what happens finally. And then it finished. Aaaand I don’t have the next book!! Note to self: Do not start an exciting series, when you only have the one book. Not a good idea. Until I get the next one, I’ll just have to distract myself with some others.

“Time is an unkind teacher, delivering lessons that we learn far too late for them to be useful. Years after I could have benefited from them, the insights come to me.”
― Robin HobbFool’s Assassin

But, as I was saying, it is not a usual story structure, I can’t actually pick the part where the tension starts, and then where the climax is, or whether it really ends at all. It’s sort of all one big complication.

“You’ll do well, if you don’t mire in self-pity. Self-pity only gets you more of the same. Don’t waste time on it.”
― Robin HobbFool’s Assassin

Before I give too much away now, let’s talk about something else. The language used was really clever, for example when Fitz talks about his ‘cub’. Before this book begins, Fitz is part of an inseparable group of friends, one of them being his Wolf, Nighteyes. Nighteyes is long dead in this book, but his spirit still comes through in Fitz when someone needs protecting, and his mannerisms become more wolf-ish. I really enjoyed this aspect.

I didn’t particularly like how many times he stuffs up, and had a few face-palm moments on Fitz’s behalf. After the first couple, I got the sense that in some parts of his life (sorry if I’m being a little vague, I’m trying not to spoil it) Fitz was uncomfortable, and of course makes a few mistakes. And then he keeps doing it, and it seemed to take up a large portion of the story, and got a bit repetitive.

For now, I just need the next book so I can find out what happens. Beware, cliffhanger ending!!

Why you should read it: Because it’s the start of what I think is going to be an epic fantasy series, and is also written well, so you can enjoy it. It’s not as slow moving as Lord of the Rings, and also more relatable characters.

Rating: star_rating_4-5_of_5

Bookfest Time!!!

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Another year has passed, meaning the first of the Lifeline Bookfests is here! From January 14, to January 26, you can find literally millions of books here in Brisbane. I went on the opening day (braving the crowds), and managed to find a lovely selection of books for myself, and the rest of my family as well. This year the haul added to a grand total of 44 books, which I think is quite impressive. Nothing on last year’s 90, of course, but still enough to be asking for a new bookshelf.

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Here’s a picture of the collection. I found lots of Robin Hobb books, a Diana Wynne Jones one, and even found a few of the original hardcover Harry Potters. We’ve started a collection. And of course, you can’t leave the Bookfest without a heap of individual books that caught your eye while there. So, if you’re in the area, don’t hesitate to go have a look. It’s awesome!! And if you aren’t in Brisbane, there are bookfests/fairs across Australia, and probably around the world as well. Keep your eyes peeled for these sort of events, because they are amazing, and all for a good cause as well. What could be better?

 

I am the Messenger – Markus Zusak

Author: Markus Zusakthe-messenger.jpg

Pages: 360

Genre: Young Adult, fiction, mystery, contemporary


 protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.
That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.
That’s when Ed becomes the messenger.
Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19057.I_Am_the_Messenger


Thoughts: I loved this book so much!! The blurb does not do it justice! (also, can I just say that I love the cover!!! It’s awesome and makes so much sense once you read it) I cannot explain how much I love Markus Zusak’s writing, and after reading both The Book Thief and now The Messenger I have fallen in love with both of them. The Messenger or I am the Messenger is a beautiful novel following Ed Kennedy, as he brings messages to people who need them, whether they be positive or negative. He watches people’s lives and basically narrates this book, telling us about their problems, and how he relates to them. He then thinks of creative ways to be able to improve their lives.

“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”
― Markus ZusakI Am the Messenger

While doing these things, Ed also has his own problems, and the way he narrates his story, and what happens to him both physically and mentally is amazing. The characters, the way they interact and what Ed sees, is all brought together by his first-person, sometimes-broken script, which makes it even more dramatic and exciting.

“Maybe I truly am shedding the old Ed Kennedy for this new person who’s full of purpose rather than incompetence.

Maybe one morning I’ll wake up and step outside of myself to look back at the old me lying dead among the sheets.”― Markus Zusak, I Am the Messenger

This is a book of riddles for Ed to figure out, and with each instruction, he feels better about himself, as if he is becoming more of a participant in life. And through him, we know what it feels like, because of the brilliant way in which Zusak creates his story. Ed meets a lot of people during his adventures, but somehow they don’t overpower and ruin the touching story. Then to finish it all off, it rounds back to the main four characters, which reinforces their importance.

“We both smack the sudden silence with laughter. When it returns, we hit it again.

The laughter spins in front of us and we keep hitting it.”
― Markus ZusakI Am the Messenger

I can’t really explain anything else. Mainly, I love it because of how its written, but I also love the characters and the idea of the story and how it connects with me and… I think you get the picture. It’s the sort of book you can enjoy while reading, but also makes you think and can change your life, which is what I also found when I read The Book Thief.

The Messenger made me laugh out loud, but also cry, which I why I believe it is a book with raw emotions coming from it. I don’t know whether I would read it again, but it is still deserving of 5 stars, and is definitely a favourite of mine.

“Why can’t the world hear? I ask myself. Within a few moments I ask it many times. Because it doesn’t care, I finally answer, and I know I’m right. ― Markus ZusakI Am the Messenger

Why should you read it: First, if you love The Book Thief, then of course I recommend. It’s a very touching book that really got to me, and I hope it does for other people too. Comment your thoughts, and we can see what other people think of what, I believe, is an amazing novel.

Rating: 5-start

 

 

Through the Zombieglass (White Rabbit Chronicles #2)

Author: Gena Showalterthrough-the-zombie-glass.jpg

Pages: 480

Genre: Young Adult, Zombie, horror, fantasy, paranormal

Zombies stalk the night. Forget blood and brains. These monsters hunger for human souls. Sadly, they’ve got mine…
Alice Bell has lost so much. Family. Friends. A home. She thought she had nothing else to give. She was wrong.
After a new zombie attack, strange things begin to happen to her. Mirrors come to life, and the whispers of the dead assault her ears. But the worst? A terrible darkness blooms inside her, urging her to do very wicked things.
She’s never needed her team of zombie slayers more, but ultra-bad boy Cole Holland, the leader and her boyfriend, suddenly withdraws from her…from everyone. Now, with her best friend Kat at her side, Ali must kill the zombies, uncover Cole’s secret and learn to fight the darkness.
But the clock is ticking…and if she fails at a single task, they’re all doomed.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15755296-through-the-zombie-glass


Thoughts: I think I may like this book a little too much – more than it deserves. It’s not actually that greatly written, but I’m in love with the characters so much that I like the entire book.

“Do you know the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
“Wrong. That’s the definition of determination.”
― Gena ShowalterThrough the Zombie Glass

My first point is the title – again, meant to be modelled off Lewis Carroll’s Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. In the last review, I said that Book 1 had very little to do with the original Wonderland story, and that still sticks with Through the Zombieglass – though to a lesser extent. Since a certain zombie attack, Ali Bell has been feeling strange urges, and mirrors have been playing up around her. This sort of alludes to the title of the book. But, that’s about it. So, again, not much better than the last book in the title department.

The storyline or plot is getting a little more detailed than the first book, but at the same time, it seems a bit forced. Yes, I enjoyed reading it, but that was because it was easy to read and exciting. Looking back on it, it does seem a little dramatic in parts. Still, there were some points that were more sincere, and fitted with the storyline better. Really, Through the Zombieglass is a young adult novel that is written well for the audience, including loveable characters, a little romance, and a nice paranormal touch.

“If you don’t get yourself killed tonight, it’ll be because of a miracle.” he said.
“Good thing my middle name is Miracle.”
― Gena ShowalterThrough the Zombie Glass

The one thing I absolutely LOVE in this story is the main group of characters. I really love them, all their easy sarcastic humour between them. Maybe I’m being too harsh on this series, or maybe it’s my love for the characters clouding my judgement. I’m not actually sure. Obviously, this means that it’s not my very favourite book, but I don’t dislike it either. I need to buy the next two in the series to finish it off, and hopefully, after finishing it, I can actually decide. For now, I’m looking forward to the next book.

“Ali Bell doesn’t play hide-and-seek,” Lucas said. “She plays hide-and-pray-I-don’t-find-you.”
Mackenzie smiled. “When Ali Bell gives you the finger, she’s telling you how many seconds you have to live.”
Cole chuckled, saying, “Fear of spiders is arachnophobia, and fear of tight spaces is claustrophobia, but fear of Ali Bell is just called logic.”
“Oh, oh.” Kat clapped excitedly. “There used to be a street named after Ali Bell, but it was changed because nobody crosses Ali Bell and lives. True story.”
― Gena ShowalterThrough the Zombie Glass

Why should you read it: Why should you read this book?? Hmmmmmm, I think, if you like your young adult novels, then you’ll enjoy this, and I would recommend it. It doesn’t have the deep words of literature you’ll find in classics, but then, young adult books usually don’t.

Rating: star_rating_3-5_of_5

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1)

Author: Gena Showalteralice in zombieland.jpg

Pages: 404

Genre: Young Adult, Zombie, horror, fantasy, paranormal

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

If anyone had told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11300302-alice-in-zombieland


Thoughts: So, first review for the year, and I’m starting off with zombies. I’ve never actually been a fan of zombie stories, but was persuaded to try this one, and did enjoy it. I think it’s because the story is about more than just zombies. When I first started it, it did take a little time for me to really get into it, but once Ali (Alice) met the rest of the main characters, I literally could not put it down. Most books, it takes me a few minutes to kind of ‘submerge’ myself back into the story, and then people have to yell to get my attention. For Alice in Zombieland the minute I picked it back up, I was back in La-La-Zombieland.

“I looked around, counting the competition. Sixteen. To win, all I had to do was incapacitate each one, place my hand over their hearts and turn my palm into a flame. Easy.
Yeah right.”
― Gena ShowalterAlice in Zombieland

The two things that really stick out to me after reading it, are both the characters and their sarcasm, and the fast paced storyline. It’s written in Ali’s point of view, and she is forever making snarky little comments about everything (and everyone) around her. Then there’s Kat, who would have to be my favourite character by far, just because of her dialogue. It’s hilarious!! Also, the adults and how they interact with the main group of teens, (especially Ali’s grandparents) are funny as well.

“I’m not trying to—What do teenagers say nowadays?” he asked my grandmother. “Get all up in her biznez,” Nana said. Without cracking a smile. “That’s right,” he replied. “We’re not trying to get all up in your biznez, Ali.”
― Gena ShowalterAlice in Zombieland

On to storyline, and like I said before, there is not a boring moment, apart from the first few chapters at the start. And while this was exciting, and made it a great book for me to read at the time, now that I think about it, there is almost too much going on. Which, I guess, is good for people looking for a fast, young adult story, which I was at the time, but if you aren’t, then it might seem a little silly to you. The characters a little too unrealistic, and their little zombie-killing organisation a bit unconvincing.

And one last thing that confused and frustrated me, was the title. Yes, the main character’s name is Alice, but does she meet interesting people and go on an adventure through a mystical land…? Nope, not at all.

But, let’s not get too negative, because it was a good book, with some very nice aspects as well. There is more in the series, so I’ll read them as soon as possible, and who knows, maybe the Alice in Wonderland theme will make more sense.

Why should you read it: So, it’s not my favourite book, but I did enjoy reading it, and if you enjoy the usual young adult genre, then you’ll like it too. It’s not a deep book, but nice for just some fun, light reading. Just keep in mind, it’s not got anything really, to do with Alice in Wonderland.

Rating:star_rating_3_of_5