Wednesday, November 9, 2011

inkcrush chats

So, time for some (random) stuff to share with you guys...

One: Cath Crowley shared the Italian cover for Graffiti Moon yesterday:

Oh, I am really liking it. It's one of those covers I can keep looking at. I love how it is the same cover scheme as the Aussie cover. I love how it is arty (Graffiti Moon is such an arty book, you guys). What do you guys think?

Speaking of covers...

Two: Braiden alerted us all to the Aussie cover of Cynthia Hand's Hallowed, #2 in the Unearthly series. Here it is, next to our cover for Unearthly:

I am rather fond of it. It is so wintery (a little bit Narnia-esque, LOL). It pulls me in. It feels a bit mysterious, the girl seems sad, bereft, even. It's a midgen whimsical. I think the white on the shelves will stand out. Overall, I am liking the atmosphere of the book. In other news I HAVE READ THE BOOK (thanks netgalley!) I will review soon in full. It has been so very well received so far, and I really (really) enjoyed it. I liked Christian a lot in #2. Also, it was a very sad book, in so many ways. What do you think of the Aussie covers for this series? 

Three: Speaking of cover reveals... I was REALLY excited to spot a cover for 2012 YA debut author Elissa Janine Hooles' book, Kiss the Morning Star (saw it updated over on goodreads):
I have been excited for her book ever since I first read about it. Seeing a cover makes it seem that much closer :)

Four: Did you guys know about Aussie YA Month over at The Crooked Shelf?

Carla has already had some BRILLIANT posts (interviews, guest posts and reviews) and I know there is so much more of the AWESOME to come. (including giveaways and more from some of my favourite authors).I am seriously LOVING it.  Here's a teaser where Carla interviews Melina Marchetta.  and a gorgeous post by Adele of Persnickety Snark. LOVE IT

Five: Speaking of Melina Marchetta...

I just finished reading her latest book Froi of the Exiles. (Book Two of the Lumatere Chronicles). It was especially fun as I had a read-along with one of my fave readerly people, Flannery. We chatted in a google document (sometimes live, which is so. much. fun.) and other times updating our progress as we went chapter by chapter. We raved and speculated and tried to predict what was going to happen (being an MM novel, you know anything could happen). We are both doing a bit of Nanowrimo this month and would love to count our Froi document towards it as our total word count for our Froi discussion was... 23, 462 (which is nearly half of the nano requirement). Good, good times.

In regard to the book (Froi): it is a brick of a book and the story itself is intricately woven. The world building is seamless, making the events and places seem real (how does MM do that? Just create an entire world out of her head). I wondered how I would feel about Froi as a narrator (after some of his early actions in Finnikin) but FEAR NOT! ;) I loved him from the start. He does not take himself as seriously as Finnikin did (he is a pretty funny guy) and he has some charming and tender moments, aww... Here's a perfect quote for the book...

'Why did everyone in Charyn seem to have a story in their eyes? And when had he (Froi) started caring?' p403

In terms of the story, my gosh, the people of Charyn (!) ~ some of their stories will make the stories of the Lumaterans (from Finnikin of the Rock) seem like children's bedtime stories in comparison. It is one wild ride. In comparison to MM's earlier work, I would say this would be the fantasy version of Jellicoe (so much more pain and suffering and heart-breaking history, also, there are moments of confusion for the reader, before the threads all start to ~ masterfully ~ pull together) More on Froi later... (before I launch into an impromptu review)

Six: The Inkys! wOOT!

Well, the winners were announced at the beginning of this month...

Winner of the GOLD INKY for most popular Aussie YA is 'Silvermay' by James Moloney
Winner of the SILVER INKY for most popular international titel is Cassandra Clare's 'Clockwork Angel.

Congrats to both winners!
The inkys are Australia's only YA awards voted for exclusively by teenagers :) More about the inkys on inkcrush :) For the Gold INKY, I had read all of the shot-list, except Silvermay ~ which I am SO hoping my library will add to ther catalogue soon, as I am very keen to read it (James Moloney is an Aussie YA author I grew up reading, and he is still going strong).

Seven: Back to Froi of the Exiles (I nearly forgot)... Fellow Aussie blogger, the lovely Kathy Bradey of Once Upon A Tine In Writer Land is giving away a copy of Froi and she is (generously) making it available INTERNATIONALLY for all you guys who cannot wait for the US release date (of who just want our gorgeous cover) Go forth and enter (and good luck!)

(closes 1st of December)

Eight: Not really a point, just signing out :)


Okay, maybe I have more to say, haha... Sorry for the random overload in this post... Also, I still have a backlog of reviews to spit out. I am a casual blogger, I don't commit to posting certain days and whatnot, and I let the blog lie dormant occasionally while I am cruising around in the real world... but, brace yourselves, as I am going to try and cram in a bunch of reviews before the end of the year stars catching up on me...

x Nomes

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Gorgon in the Gully by Melina Marchetta + giveaway

Beyond the basketball courts and classrooms of St Raph's is a gully where everything disappears forever. Danny Griggs has heard stories about a creature that lives down there. So why does he volunteer to face the Gorgon when he's been petrified of everything all his life? 

A gentle story about overcoming fear and looking at things from all angles, from best-selling author Melina Marchetta.

The Gorgon in The Gully is Melina Marchetta's 2010 debut for middle readers. 

I bought this book for me my boys, Sam and Reuben.

Here they are ^ (taken down the road from our place): 
Sam on the left is 10 years (grade 4) and Reuben on the right is 9 (grade 3)

Danny Griggs, our protagonist, is in grade 4 and he's an Australian boy, so right from the start my boys related. Even though it is perfect independent reading level for both Sam and Reubs, this is one we saved for me reading out loud to them at bedtime. 

We read this a couple of months back (I am perpetually behind in talking about books ;)) but Reuben is currently rereading it in quiet reading time at school, which reminded me to come and chat on here about it.   

Reviews from my boys

Sam: The Gorgon in the Gully is awesome and funny. I hope a sequel comes out because I would like to read it. My favourite character was Jonah Griggs because he was a cool big brother and he buys Danny stuff off ebay. My favourite part was the end because I didn't know what was going to happen.

Reuben: I reckon it's pretty funny how it actually says what a Gorgon is on the internet. Even though they probably don't even exist. I like it how they thought it was a real Gorgon in the gully but ... [had to edit him out, a tiny bit spoilery!]. I like how they were always making strategies and planning things. Akbar was funny but my favourite character is Danny because he is the one who is brave enough to go down in the gully even though he is scared of a lot of stuff.

From me: The Gorgon in The Gully is classic Melina Marchetta. It's not only charming, funny and intriguing but it is full of of heart. I love how Marchetta brings a cast of characters together. She has a gift for taking random, at-odds characters and creating community. Not only community amongst her characters, but they come to life for me as a reader and I feel like I belong in the community too. I love her dialogue, which bounces off each character so well.  

Above all, the characters are so endearing.. It's a brave and smiley story, I think it would charm any child. It's especially perfect for boys, I am amazed (although I shouldn't be) just how Marchetta writes as if she is inside a ten year old boys head. Danny was captivating, what a charmer! (He is going to be a heart breaker when he grows up).

As for reading it to my kids: They loved it (one more chapter, Mum!). They laughed out loud. So. Much. (particularly Reuben, he kept laughing at lines that I didn't think were supposed to be funny, LOL.) They loved the culture references, from Indiana Jones to Beast Quest, and the inclusion of cricket and soccer and playground antics. It oozes Aussieness from the reference (meat pies) to the way the kids hack out on each other to show affection. The humour builds right through to the climax, with running jokes and clever motifs. It was fun to read out-loud (I owned Akbar's Mum;s Indian accent ;)) and it was so awesome to read word-for-word Aussie slang/terms the whole way through (often when I read imported MG, I switch words like cafeteria to canteen, etc).

For fans of On The Jellicoe Road: The Gorgon in the Gully takes place at the same time as On The Jellicoe Road. This is a story about Jonah Griggs little brother, Danny. Jonah appears in the story more than I had imagined (yay!)
Danny waited for his brother Jonah to ring. Jonah was at a camp out bush for the next six weeks. There wasn't much phone coverage where Jonah was, but Danny's brother managed to find a spot every night to call. No matter what. 
'What's up mate?' 
Danny loved it when his brother called him that because Jonah was his bestest friend in the world even though he was nine years older than Danny. (p 14)

LOL @ the phone coverage!  There's some gorgeous little snatches in there for Jellicoe fans (here's one teaser):
That night he (Danny) asked Jonah if he could take $9.49 out of Jonah's secret stash that only Danny and his mum and jack knew about. Jonah kept it in his sock drawer next to a photograph of Jonah and a girl with sad eyes, taken in one of those railway station booths. (p30)
Oh, I got very nostalgic for Jellicoe while reading this book. The above quote just about broke my heart (as I swooned a little) thinking about Jonah and Taylor again. As for Jonah as a big brother, he is fiercely protective towards Danny, cheering the little guy on. I loved seeing Jonah  from Danny's perspective, his hero, tough and smart and pretty much invincible. I was also very touched by the conversation  between Jonah and Danny on pages 97 - 100.

Any fan of Melina Marchetta (or Jonah Griggs) would love this book. 

Read Chapter One
The Gorgon in the Gully @ goodreads

My local didn't have it (we have the tiniest book shop here), I purchased my copy from The Nile  ($7.99 + free shipping) or see a full list of where to buy online @ Booko

Giveaway: This one is a little hard to get internationally (sorry, guys) so I would love to give away a copy. I know Marchetta fans will be dying to get their hands on this charming little Aussie book.

Giveaway open internationally
Fill out the form (embedded in this post)
Ends Nov 25

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Slide by Jill Hathaway

UK cover // US cover

The blurb: Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered. 

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body. 

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane. 

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again. (taken from goodreads)

Me, chatting it up: Slide is a refreshing, energetic YA debut for fans of Veronica Mars. 

Sylvia (Vee) can slide into other people bodies, bearing witness to what they are doing, but having no sway over them. It’s pretty much a perfect premise for a sleuthing novel as Vee can sleuth her way around people minds (helping progress the plot forward with conveniently witnessed scenes). 

I liked Vee from the first chapter. She is funky without being try-hard. I loved her narration: 

She is my sister and my exact opposite in every way. If she’s the pink glitter on your valentine, I’m the black sharpie you use to draw mustaches on the teachers in your yearbook.
How cool is Vee, eh? ^^

It’s pretty much a mystery story and the plot is expertly woven. The stakes continually rise (as does the body count). The red herrings are plentiful and really make for a page-turner. 

Set in a high school, type-casting* is initially used to set the scene, yet Hathaway (mostly) pushes past cliches to give all her characters depth, which I really admired. 

The climax is everything you’d expect a climax to be in this genre: secrets are unveiled, past and present tragedies collide. I can see why it has already been optioned as it has all the drama and intrigue (and originality) to play out gorgeously on the big screen. It would make a fun high school flick, hey. As for the Big Reveal... nicely done. I guess I saw it coming when I was supposed to see it coming (?) and it was sufficiently daytime drama to give thrills but not overly melodramatic, still matching the tone of the rest of the book. 

I am not usually a huge fan of YA stories featuring cheerleaders, arrogant jocks, high school cliques and all the petty/vicious girl-warfare that goes down. But in Slide it was fun looking on. Vee is an ex-cheerleader and far removed from the scene (thankfully), it is through other peoples eyes that we get involved. Vee herself is a blend of gorgeously achey, pragmatic and funky. Her best friend Rollins is so much fun, a little bit enigmatic and a lot crush-worthy (hey, I am a fan). 

It’s a fun story, dramatic in parts and sad in others. It also has patches of heart (particularly in regards to relationships: Vee and her sister, Vee and her best friend, Rollins (LOVED Rollins), and Vee and her father ~ (he is a broken man and their relationship is tenderly handled). 

Vee and her sister, Mattie: 
Then I climb into bed and wrap my arms around her, pretending we’re stranded in Antarctica and I have to use my body heat to keep her alive.
Recommended : I read this through in the space of 24 hours. I grinned a lot (some of Vee’s narration is so likeable) and had a relaxed time reading it. This is a book for fans of YA mystery, Veronica Mars, high school stories and for those wanting an addictive story with a lot of energy in it. In terms of genre, it has the (paranormal?) premise, but it reads like a contemporary novel. 

*I like typecasting in plot-centric books. It’s a great strategy with many strengths and Hathaway utilises all the strengths without falling prey to any weaknesses of typecasting (such as overusing cliches or creating one-dimensional characters)

Here is the info of the Aussie edition (no cover yet), courtesy of Netgalley:

Print Editions:
Format: Paperback
Publication Date:03/01/2012
Trim Size:216x135
List Price:$14.99

So, being Australian, the publishing date looks to me like the 3rd of January... Hmm. Or, perhaps the info was entered backwards (aka US style) and it will be out on the 1st March? Couldn't find it on HarperCollins Australia to confirm the Aussie date

Slide will be out March 27 in the US 

Thanks to HarperCollins Australia and Netgalley for generously providing the egalley :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Booky Meme

So, I have been drowning you all in reviews, I thought I'd do a more fun post to lighten the mood around here :)

This meme has first popped up over @ the lovely Miss Angieville and also Janicu's blog.

I've listed two answers ~ one for myself, and the other what I am reading with my kids :)

1. Book I am currently reading:

I have just started an Aussie YA sci-fi, alien, time-travelling book: Singing the Dogstar Blues. It was published in 1998 and won the Aurealis Award. It's recently been reprinted with an updated cover. I am reading this with two of my book club friends (they are currently ahead of me and loving it... I have some catching up to do)

Currently reading to my kids: Georges Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. Hilariously silly, perfect for reading aloud.

2. Last book I finished:

Slide by Jill Hathaway :) I have been following Jill since I bumped into her on Absolute Write and was thrilled to read her debut early. It reminded me of Veronica Mars, very fun. (review soon)

Last finished with my kids: Five Run Away Together (Famous Five #3) by Enid Blyton. I loved these as a kid, but always need a breather when reading them as an adult ;)

3. Next book I want to read:

Coming up with be Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta. I reread Finnikin in September to whet my appetite and I am most excited. Plus, has anyone read the reviews yet? It sounds mind-blowingly amazing ~ 76% of reviewers so far have gone with 5 star brilliance :)

Next up with my kids: Holes by Louis Sachar. Very much looking forward to this one. We have already watched the movie together, but I know the book will be better (and I read it was also inspiration to Melina Marchetta when she was developing/writing On The jellicoe road)

4. Last book I bought:

I bought my daughter this set of Billie B Brown books for her 7th birthday ~ they come in a cute little metal case. They are by lovely Aussie author/illustrator Sally Rippin and are funky little chapter books (4 chapters each) perfect for Carissa reading aloud.

Last bought for myself? I bought Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar to read on my kindle while in Bali. It's Christian fiction, and a retelling of prostitute Rahab of the walls of Jericho fame. Gosh, I loved it so. A gorgeous romantic story, authentic with the dusty, tent-city setting and a bit of a tear-jerker with it's theme of redemption (I am such a sucker for stories of redemption).

Now I kind of want a copy of it for my shelf. But when I got my kindle I promised myself I wouldn't spend money on duplicates ;) (buy the ebook, then buy the paperback). Has anyone else purchased the same book in ebook and afterwards in hard copy?

5. Last book I was given:

The awesome Jade gave me an ARC of Sara Zarr's most AMAZING latest book, 'How To Save a Life'. Guys, it was crazily brilliant. I have always been a Sara Zarr fangirl, but this book took my fandom (is that the word? haha) to a whole new level.

I was also gifted with an ebook from my lovely friend Olivia: Wolves, Boys and Other Things That May Kill Me. It has been on my wishlist for a while, so it's right up the top of my TBR :)

If you join in in this (fun, easy) meme, hit me up with a link and I'll check it out.

*also, if you are a new follower HI and leave me a comment so I can find your blog and follow you back :) x Nomes