Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten authors whose books I own the most of

My first Top Ten Tuesday (which is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish) :)

I always love seeing these posts roll by in my feed and am jumping in today with some pics from my shelves. This was fun to count up how many books I own by certain authors ~ major advantage to long time publishing faves :) All counted up from my shelves ~ not including any ebooks or audiobooks that I own.

First up you should know:

  • I don't buy many books -- I am a very happy library addict. 
  • I love scrounging around op shops and second hand books stores to find any fave books I need to possess ;)
  • I am pretty ruthless with my collection -- I only keep my faves on my shelves and donate/giveaway any other books that accumulate (most recently had a huge clean out when moving house in May ~ I removed over 120 books from my collection then)
  • I currently have about 40 books out on loan ~ so I couldn't include them when I went scrounging around my shelves (so my count could be out, haha)

1. John Marsden ~ 14 books

Mostly comprised by the brilliant Tomorrow, When the War Began series. I love Ellie and the gang so much. I finally completed my collection more than ten years after reading them when Coles put them on clearance for $2 (love a bargain!). 

2. Elizabeth Scott ~ 11 books

Elizabeth Scott is one of my all time fave comfort reads. I adore her and am so pleased to own almost her entire catalogue (I'm missing Living Dead Girl ~ which was startling and impressive yet I know I will never reread). My faves of hers are: Stealing Heaven, Miracle and Perfect You

3. Jaclyn Moriarty ~ 10 books

My favourite author! I own all her books to date. These books have all been read at least twice and will be read so many more times. My fave of hers is usually which ever one I happen to be reading ~ too hard to pick. Seriously. (Although I recommend Finding Cassie Carzy if you've yet to try her out)

4. Melina Marchetta ~ 8 books

I love Melina Marchetta. Her books have pride of place on my shelves. I find it hard to pick a fave as it's like  trying to pick your favourite child ~ but I am very happy to have two copies of the gorgeous on The Jellicoe Road ~ stunning, most brilliant book. 

5. Sonya Hartnett ~ 7 books

Sonya Hartnett is a long time fave of mine since I first read Sleeping Dogs when I was 14. Some of these copies have been hard won ~ out of print and gleefully snatched up like hidden treasure from hours spent scrounging around second hand books shops. There are still a few more of hers I would love to own! I read Wilful Blue about 5 times during year 11 and 12. I felt it was some kind of personal manifesto, haha (although it is objectively one of her weaker titles). She is amazing. 

6. Liane Moriarty ~ 6 books

I have all 6 of Liane's gorgeous books (Also I love how she is right next to her sister Nicola Moriarty on my shelves). I personally prefer the cute little trade paperbacks for sizing but am happy to have her latest three in first edition release :) My faves of hers are Three Wishes and the Husband's Secret ! but all of them are brilliant. 

After this I have a massive tie for authors whom I own FOUR books of:

Sherryl Jordan ~ New Zealand author whom I most nostalgically love and adore. My fave of hers is Winter of Fire.
Lisa Schroeder ~ love her verse novels <3
Sara Zarr 
C K Kelly Martin ~ I also have a bonus book on my kindle. Can't wait for her upcoming release!
Cath Crowley ~ Still collecting ~ I have one more Gracie Faltrain book to find and bring home (and hanging out for The Howling Boy)
Kasie West ~ I am fast feeling the same way about Kasie West that I feel about Elizabeth Scott. My fave of hers is The Distance Between Us.
Laurie Halse Anderson
Sarah Ockler ~ I know this number will grow the more Ockler writes.
Sarah Dessen ~ I was sure I had more but must've lost some along the way...

Which author do you own the most books of? 
Do you collect books or pass them on?

(This post would be entirely different if it was authors whom I have read the most books of... So many authors I used to burn through at the library)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Highlights of my reading year so far (2014)

I drafted this post in early July -- and here we are :) Still, I love talking about books that I have so very much enjoyed and here's some highlights of my 2014 reading year.

2014 has been a mixed-up year so far -- with 3 months of it spent nearly entirely in bed (slain with two mosquito-borne viruses -- Barmah Forest Virus and Ross River Fever -- coupled with other medical complications) which made for some reading time (but nothing too challenging as sick, etc, etc). I also (somehow) kept up study and we moved house as well. I'm feeling so much better these days and am so excited for the rest of 2014 -- life-wise and reading-wise. I am ever-so-thankful for books when times are tough -- and also thankful for book recommendations from good friends and bloggers <3

As always, my favourite reading experiences are not necessarily the most brilliant or perfect books out there -- they comprise of the books that came to me at the right time, perfectly matching my reading mood and sucking me in with that up-all-night addictive reading feeling. They feature combinations of characters I came to love, escapism, and gorgeous prose.

The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty

My absolute fave so far this year. I love this series so much I feel like my heart could burst! So much looking forward to #3 and also looking forward to rereading this one <3 This was funny and unique and suspenseful and perfectly brilliant in every way.

My review

Shimmer by Paula Weston

I reread the first two books in the series (just as addictive on the reread) and fell deeper in love with the characters and the world. Good times! I am so encouraging everyone to get on board with this unique and addictive Aussie YA angel series.

My Review

As Stars Fall by Christie Nieman

There was something almost otherworldly about this gorgeous Aussie YA contemporary novel. It was startling and beautiful and full of emotoins and surprise.

My review

Dark Horse by Honey Brown

I really look forward to Honey Brown -- she always hits the spot when you're in the mood for a psychological thriller. This is my fave of her titles so far. Addictive with some stunning twists and intense, evocative scenes. I loved this.

I also read Through the Cracks by Honey Brown this year and recommend that as well (unputdownable) -- although I am just sticking to picking one of her titles for this fave list :)

The Girl With All The Gifts by M R Carey

A post-apocalyptic zombie novel that really is worth the hype. This captivated me from the first scene -- and held me the whole way through to it's stunning conclusion.

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

I was so surprised by how much I fell for this book. I found it captivating and was so easily absorbed into the pages -- and wanting to get back to it every time I had to put if down. It was a combination of things that kept the pages turning -- Kestrel's captivating narration, the easy world-building, the genuine conflicts and the slow burn and complicated relationship between Kestrel and Arin. This is a fantasy but has more of a historical-ish vibe (even a kind of ancient Greece type feel). I so loved reading it and am 100% hanging out for #2.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Whimsical and heartfelt and a little bit off beat -- this was delightful and clever and I'm still thinking about it.

The Darkest Minds and Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

I picked this up after seeing Reynje (of Wordchasing) recommend it. I feel I have mostly outgrown this YA genre of special powers/post-apocalyptic society type books and therefore never paid this series much attention. So glad I rectified that. Both these books delivered for me: fresh and intriguing with fantastic pacing and some cool twists. I loved Ruby's narration and the little band of characters -- also a shout-out to the good guy love interest = swoon! Looking forward to the final book in the trilogy.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight and
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

To all those people who were there at the beginning -- I do not envy your wait between books. I ignored this series for a long time (I pretty much don't do urban fantasy or paranormal and thus assumed these books would not be my thing). The upside of me waiting so long to take up these books is I got to read them pretty much back to back. The writing is lush, the plot and world building is intricate and the story-telling is just sublime. There's so much emotion in this series -- depth's of sorrow and love and also ridiculous fun and humour. Unpredictable and gorgeous and consuming -- now a fave series that I am already looking forward to rereading. Karou and Akiva <3

 Nearly a Lady by Alissa Johnson

I like a bit of regency romance when I need something fun to escape into. Out of all the regency romances I have read so far (this year and in previous years) -- this would have to be my fave. So much fun and swoony good times. Also -- does not follow the kind of set romance formula that so much of this genre adheres too. I 100% recommend this total gem to any fans of regency romance (and also to anyone who might like to drop by the genre and give it ago :) )

Major thanks to Keertana of Ivy Book Bindings for highlighting this title in her fave reads of the year (so far)  (you were not wrong!)

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

I really enjoyed this contemporary YA debut. It was the first contempary YA book to hold my attention in such a long time. (And those who have been around here a while know that contempary YA is my first love). I didn't entirely connect with the MC but that did not stop me from loving the writing. Highlights of this were the slow burn romance (my fave way to bring the swoons!) and the best friend relationship. This is a road trip book but it did not feel like a road trip book at all (which suits me as I am generally not into road trips -- in life or in fiction, haha). Not an all time fave book but definitely worth a shout out for it's up-all-night addictiveness.

As always -- I would love any recommendations or to know if you loved any of these as much as I did! And thanks to my readers (if you're still out there!) for stopping by (either on the site or in your feeders) and I hope you're in the middle of a truly awesome book

Much love,


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

As Stars Fall by Christie Nieman

A bush fire, and its aftermath, links a Bush-Stone curlew and three teenagers experiencing loss, love and change.

The fire was fast and hot ... only days after it went through, there were absolutely no birds left. I should have seen it as an omen, the birds all leaving like that.

Robin is a self-confessed bird-nerd from the country, living in the city. On the first day at her new school, she meets Delia. Delia is freaky and definitely not good for Robin's image.

Seth, Delia's brother, has given up school to prowl the city streets. He is angry at everything, especially the fire that killed his mother.

When a rare and endangered bird turns up in the city parklands, the lives of Robin, Seth and Delia become fatefully and dangerously intertwined ...

An intricate love story about nature, grief, friendship and life.

Beautiful, poignant, with wonderfully original characters and a unique blend of time and place.

Beautifully written and compelling in both a quiet and urgent way. As Stars Fall was unexpected (both in it's captivating nature and in it's plot) and lyrical and haunting in that perfect way where the characters bleed into you and you feel their grief and wildness and confusion and hope.

As Stars Fall is an astonishing book in so many ways. It moves along to it's own beat blending two vivid settings (the city and the country) and three POVs that criss-cross and gain momentum so that I was holding my breath wondering how things were going to turn out. The narrative structure reminds me a little of The Accident -- though As Stars Fall has an extra element that just verges on magical realism (kind of -- mostly in the way that you can begin to maybe expect the unexpected -- and in the feeling that something horribly magical, or magically horrible could be just about to unfold). I loved it for that. The element of danger and impending doom just quietly bubbling away in the background. It was grounded and yet had exquisite moments of grief and paranoid delusion and heightened emotions mixed in with the everyday stifling, even boring, aftermath of tragedy and upheaval. 

I loved reading this exquisite Aussie YA novel -- which didn't follow a set formula but was crafted with care and took me to places I did not expect and then had me suddenly realising how much I had come to care for the characters. This is a slower read -- but every scene drew me deeper in and I consumed in a 24 hour period. It's reeling with emotion -- but balanced with some sharp humour and a gorgeous and unpredictable love story. I loved the school setting -- Robin is so brave and wonderful to watch at setting into a new school (she's daring and bold and clever and just such a great heroine to cheer for) and the farm setting and I loved the aliveness of the fierce and unrelenting, devastating fire. I am not really a bird fan at all but I loved the mysteriousness of the bush-stone curlew and how it tied everything together. The ending was stunning and really brought the book into a whole other level.  

As Stars Fall is a favourite read for me this year and I recommend it to fans of Aussie YA -- to readers who like to sink into their books and quietly and unexpectedly fall in love.

As Stars Fall @ goodreads
As Stars Fall @ Pan Macmillan
Read an extract

As Stars Fall is available in Australia now
Thank you Pan Macmillan for my review copy

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My most anticipated books for the second half of 2014

I love marking the mid-year point by reflecting on my fave reads so far (I'll be posting them soon) and also by getting myself all pumped up for the brilliant books that are yet to come. I love having something to look forward too -- book anticipation is it's own kind of special buzz. I am sadly a little out of the loop this year with best-ofs and must-reads and buzz books. I don't even entirely know what is coming up -- but I have 12 books here that I'm truly looking forward to with increasing anticipation.

(all links go to goodreads)

Number one most (insanely) excited about

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

So thrilled (more than you can imagine) that Liane Moriarty has another book coming out this year. She is amazing. I love her.

Five imported contemporary YA titles I'm hanging out for

It's been a slow year with me and contemporary YA. I have not fallen in love with one yet -- or even seem to have been able to find enticing titles to get my hands on. However, I have a really good feeling about these five:

Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan

The sequel to I'll be There. It's nearly here. I am stoked.

The Bridge From me To You by Lisa Schroeder

I love Lisa Schroeder. I have loved all her books thus far, we are just perfectly suited - her books and I. The premise of this sounds emotional and swoony and all round exactly like a Lisa Schroeder book.

On The Fence by Kasie West

Love Kasie West. She's swoony and fun and writes those up-all-night kinda books where you don't want to put it down because you're hoping and grinning too much. Love the cheery yellow title, too. This looks so happy-making.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I am *hoping* that I'll love this. I think it is going to be amazing...

Isla and The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Anna was so fun. I didn't connect the same way with Lola but that doesn't stop me from being excited for this. Also: I read the first 65 pages online -- it was good ;) Really good.

Six Aussie YA titles that have me thinking 2014 is shaping up to be an amazing year in books

The Protected by Claire Zorn

Loved Claire Zorn's debut, so much, and am really looking forward to what she has next. (Honestly -- I am thrilled there is a next so soon! Awesome surprise)

Cooper Bartholomew is Dead by Rebecca James

Loved Rebecca James' most recent release, Sweet Damage, it was an up-all-night, evocatively written psychological thriller. I'm really looking forward to another twisty and suspenseful reading experience <3

Intruder by Christine Bongers

Early reviews have me excited. The premise sounds awesome -- this looks like just my thing.

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl

From the super talented author of Life in outer Space -- Keil releases her second YA novel. I'm hanging out for more smiles and fun and something heartfelt and a little bit different. Also, the cover is amazing.

Head of the River by Pip Harry

I really loved Pip's debut (I'll Tell You Mine). It was absorbing, fresh and authentic -- with a plot that made it increasingly harder to put down. Looking forward to meeting more of her characters -- and this premise sounds unique and genuine.

Spark by Rachel Craw

Craw is an NZ author and this looks a tiny out of my comfort zone (with the sci-fi elements and such) but it has me intrigued and I love shaking things up a little in my reading -- definitely going to be hunting this one down

Two bonus titles:

Goodreads has these slated as 2014 releases -- but I'm not so sure? Looks like they may be 2015 titles as there's suspiciously little evidence so far... Whenever they come, I am so there:

The Howling Boy by Cath Crowley CATH. CROWLEY.

Unplugged by Donna Freitas Loved The Survival Kit (and also This Gorgeous Game). This is a genre switch, but I'm game -- Freitas has only ever impressed me so far <3

Are you excited for any of these? 
What are you looking forward to that i don't have on my radar yet?