Friday, September 21, 2012

Five Things and HEY

1. BEST NEWS EVER yesterday:

Oh, man, I didn't even know about this book until yesterday and I am already aching/dying/desperate to get my hands on it. No idea what it is about, but it is by Nicola Moriarty (!) and the cover and title are gorgeous. Due out early 2013

2. Meet my local second hand book shop:

Totally feel like you are in an episode of Hoarders walking around there. Three rooms, many aisles, decked out like this.

Bonus: the kids love going there (who wouldn't?).

Look what I found! This is the 1995 edition of the very famous and well loved Sleeping Dogs
Totally fluked seeing this book! (was right on the top of a random stack). This is the first Sonya Hartnett I read, back when I was 15 (!). So cool to finally have my own copy. Any other Sonya Hartnett fans out there? She is AMAZING.

3. On Monday, I met Aussie author Toni Jordan at Caloundra Library.

She is one of my favourite (and I know many others) writers of (smart) romantic comedy. Her debut, Addition, is SUCH a favourite book of mine. I've loaned it to so many friends and read it 2.5 times myself (we all know which parts the .5 were, haha). It's PERFECT crossover, with our 19 year old protagonist and the gorgeous and sexy 19 year old Irish boy (my gosh. sexytimes.) and I love that the protag has OCD (one of my fave topics in fiction) and this time presented in such a fun (but heartfelt) way (gosh, enough with these parenthesis already!)

Speaking of Addition: it is available worldwide. Translated into, like, 17 languages. Multiple reprints and soon to be a movie. I love it so. MAJOR RECOMMENDATION from me.

ANYWAY. I took my copy to get signed ... [cue drum roll] and upon reaching Toni, flipped it open and found she had already signed it. CLASSIC. Back in 'Sydney '98' She signed it again for me anyway, and, I just have to add, my inscription is WAY better :)

I am too private to share actual inscriptions. Sorry if this tiny pic drives you crazy!
Side note: I love this cover for it ;)

Also, Toni Jordan talked for an hour and she is SO funny and eloquent and I took mad-girl notes and loved it. Also took my husband. he liked it, too, especially the bit where we (Toni and audience) joked about OCD (not to be disrespectful, etc). I completely didn't dob myself in, but who doesn't have some kind of OCD issues? (well, apart from my husband...) 

One thing Toni shared that I liked: she calls her first draft her 'heart draft' and her second draft her 'brain draft'. Meaning the first time it's all about getting into the characters and the story and feeling it, and the second time through it's making it work: research, tension, shaping the story. Beautiful.

4. Been doing a lot of bush-walking, this place just at the top of my street.

Maggie, of Young Adults Anonymous, pointed out that one of my pics is like the US cover of Jasper Jones. Sweet.

5. I've really been sucking at reading.
I have PILES of half read books on my bedside, bookshelves and half done books on my kindle. I return books to my library, 3/4s read. It's becoming my new thing :/ Most are actually really good. I am just finding that if it is not EXACTLY my kind of perfect book, I lose interest. If I am not sucked in with that unputdownable feeling, it gets put down and I have no urge to pick it up again.

It's actually really frustrating...

Plus YOU GUYS it's school holidays! Best feeling ever. I love having the kids home and sleeping in, and my parents are driving up so I'll get to feel all tourist-y alongside them.

It feels so good to make this random post and say hi to you all!

x Nomes

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blood Storm by Rhiannon Hart

The rain wanted to be ocean; the ice in the mountain caps wanted freedom. I never knew that water held such longing. The clouds above my head rumbled like a growling wolf, impatient to release their burden. I held the rain there a moment longer. I turned to Renata, heard her gasp and knew my eyes glowed blue.

I spoke a single word. 'Rain.'

In the Second Book of Lharmell, Zeraphina and Rodden must travel across the sea to find the elusive ingredients that will help them to win the coming battle against the Lharmellin – but shadows from Rodden’s dark past may come back to haunt him. And while she learns to harness her new abilities, Zeraphina still fights the hunger that makes her crave the north – not to mention avoiding her mother, who wants to see her wayward daughter married to a prince at all costs.

Last year, I fell in love with Rhiannon Hart's debut, Blood Song. Guys, she was only warming up. Rhiannon Hart completely bypasses the dreaded curse of the second book in a series to deliver a completely addictive, twisty, dangerous and (more than) satisfying sequel. Where Blood Song introduced us to the world of Lharmell, Zeraphina and Rodden, Blood Storm takes us way deeper into their world. 

A list of so many things I loved about Blood Storm:

That it is easy to read*. I struggle with high fantasy, yet the world of Lharmell is so seductively easy to curl up into. The landscape of Blood Storm is huge: from small haunted towns, to cities, to danger on the high seas and nomads in the desert. It's the ultimate road trip. 

Hart is some kind of genius at creating questions in the reader, leaving me hanging out just the right tantalising amount, and then delivering revelations that had me 1. reeling, 2. aching, and 3. more addicted to her characters and world.   

I loved that my heart was ripped out more than once. I love a good ache-y read and this one got me 100%. Rodden. My gosh.  I am still reeling from it. Talk about haunting. 

That, while the first half was clipping along at a steady, comfortable pace, the second half grabbed me and would not let me go. Reading past midnight because a book has captured me is the absolute best feeling. 

I love that Hart is unafraid to take the story to some dark (seriously dark) places, yet lightens the mood with such a likeable narrator. Zeraphina is gutsy and bold but vulnerable in all the right places. I love how she comes into her own . More certain of who she is even as she is discovering more about herself and her powers.  

Speaking of main characters: Rodden is intriguingly unreadable and seemingly unsympathetic at times, which makes his moments of unexpected sweetness even more swoon-worthy. He is the perfect brooding, tortured soul and his chemistry with Zeraphina dances a fine line: quietly understated and then moments of perfect zing. LOVE. I did not expect to feel so drawn to him as I did, especially as some of his secrets are made known.

Hart lushly draws the reader into her world without drowning us in description (thank you!). A few carefully coined phrases had me feeling like I was travelling right alongside our hero and heroine: sights, sounds, smells and a great sense of history oozing from the pages.

Likewise, the action scenes are riveting, they played out in my head seamlessly. 

I found Blood Storm to be unpredictable (always a good good thing). Things are not always as they seem. Hart took me on a wild journey yet kept me grounded the whole way. 

There's an absolute killer cliffhanger, yet for some reason, I was not frustrated. I was so reeling and exhilarated form the climax that I was ready to forgive Hart anything. I have no doubt she will deliver above and beyond in the third and final book in the trilogy.

* 'Easy reading is damn hard writing' Nathaniel Hawthorn

This review is the official first stop of the Blood Song Blog tour. I'm looking forward to checking out the blogs below over the next ten days. Also, mate, if you are in Australia and have not picked up Rhiannon Hart's first book, I so encourage you to do so**. The Lharmell books are such a great addition to the Aussie YA scene, fantastic writing, original plots and unforgettable characters from a talented writer. Addictive and satisfying stuff <3

** Check your libraries! And your local book shops! And Big W (they stock it at my local Big W)

SEPTEMBER 21 Refracted Light 

SEPTEMBER 22 Little Book Owl (Blood Song)

SEPTEMBER 23 Intrepid Reader (Blood Song) 

SEPTEMBER 24 The Rest is Still Unwritten 

SEPTEMBER 25 Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic 

SEPTEMBER 26 The Tales Compendium 

SEPTEMBER 27 Larissa Book Girl (Blood Song) 

SEPTEMBER 28 The Eclectic Reader 

SEPTEMBER 28 Beauty & Lace (Guest post) 

SEPTEMBER 29 Treasured Tales for Young Adults (Blood Song) 

SEPTEMBER 30 Ticket to Anywhere (Guest post)

Links! :)

Blood Song @ goodreads
Blood Storm @ goodreads
Rhiannon Hart's Twitter
Rhiannon Hart's Blog
Rhiannon Hart's facebook
Check out the first chapter of Blood Storm here

Thanks to Rhiannon Hart for my gorgeous review copy