Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Top 14 Books of 2014

We've reached the end of another year, although I have no idea where 2014 actually has gone. I've read so many books this year it was really hard to narrow down which ones I loved the most. Nevertheless, my favourite 14 books of the year!




Tell Me Which Books You Enjoyed The Most This Year! 

And have a splendid New Years guys! 



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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

November Wrap Up

Finally I've got time to sit down and write something! It's almost the end of of December, but here's my November Wrap Up. Better late than never right?

On The Blog

Last month was a pretty bad month for me but I had exams so yeah ....

Top Ten Tuesday
Books I Want To Re-Read | Characters I'd Want To Read From | Sequels I Can't Wait To Get

I was contacted by a company to write about what I loved to read during my childhood!

A very short recap of what I did during the last half of October, and anything else that happened after which wasn't much ..


Reading Time

Massive Fail! I read one book. ONE.


Haul

Because I only read one book I decided to cheer myself up by doing a collective haul!




Reviews

        


Please Tell Me Your Month Was Better! 




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Friday, 21 November 2014

Talking Personal

I have officially finished my last semester for this year, and hopefully passed all classes to head into my 3rd - and final - year of uni. Exams weren't too bad until the last final moments when I had a mental freak out when I realised I was not at all near ready then what I should be. My last exam was two days ago and I celebrated in true Tracey style - with food! Unfortunately I was too hungry to really take photos. However, I did end up having decent hot pot with my girls for one of their birthdays and there was so much food.


XJ Hot Pot House
265 Springvale Rd, Glen Waverley VIC 3150 

I haven't really done much besides studying and working on the side, but I am excited to finally start my holidays and really just sit back and relax. It's been 3 weeks since I've read anything, which feels really weird, but I'm getting straight back into it. NaNoWriMo has been on a halt as well but hopefully I can get to at least 5,000 - 10,000 words. I only have a week left so that's definitely going to be a challenge.

I've been really enjoying just sitting at home and watching movies, although marathoning the Fast & Furious movies during exam period was not a good idea. Currently I'm going through Toy Story and will probably move onto the Marvels series. That's about it really.

Oh, one last thing. It's my birthday month this month so I'm thinking of spoiling myself a bit ... with more books! Hope you have guys have a great ending to November!

How Has Your Month Been?




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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Can't Wait To Get

Hosted By: The Broke and The Bookish
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish, where we list our top ten according to a topic of the week. Check out future topics here.


Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get
I'm mixed it up with unreleased titles and sequels I want to read - that have been released - but I don't own yet. 

Unreleased Titles



1. Untitled (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas
Date: Sept, 10th  2015
This is probably a given for everyone's list considering how fantastic Heir of Fire (#3). I just want to know more and it is killing me!

2. End of Days (Angelfall #2) by Susan Ee
Date: May, 12th 2015
Eeep! For a series I was feeling so-so about, the second book World After really pulled me back in and I cannot wait for the finale. I hope I don't cry, because that would not be a pretty sight. 

3. The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski 
Date: March, 3rd 2015
I enjoyed the first one a lot and the cliff hanger at the ending really left a lot to think about. It paves way for an interesting premise in this one. That cover though! 

4. Matryoshka (Deathless #2) by Catherynne M. Valente
Date: TBA
I'm pretty sure I lost the plot when I heard news that there was going to be a sequel to the breathtaking Deathless. It's not a follow up but a companion, but it doesn't matter. This world was so gripping and I loved every moment of it! 

5. The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) by Samantha Shannon 
There are ARC copies of this already going around (those lucky people), but I think what intrigues me so much about this series is the length of it. It means I can commit myself knowing that I will get a lot of character development and a solid plot - hopefully.

Released Titles





6. The Treatment (The Program #2) by Suzanne Young
I just recently finished The Program (review here) and I thought it was a very creative and intellectual read. I'm hoping The Treatment gives me the same feeling!

7. Kitty Kitty (Bad Kitty #2) by Michele Jaffe
Again I only just finished this (review here) and it was so hilarious that I want to go straight back and join Jas' on her adventures. Cries!

8. The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland #3) by Catherynne M. Valente
I feel like I leave too much time between reading each one that I lose a grasp on the actual story, so I really need to jump on this fast! 

9. The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #3) by Michele Hodkin
Yes, I am still waiting for this believe it or not. Long story short my pre-order got delayed, like delaaaaaayed so now I have to try and get it somewhere else. I just want to read this. Why is the world getting in the way?!

10. The King's Curse (The Cousins' War #6) by Philippa Gregory 
I swear this on like every list of mine but I still haven't gotten around to getting it, despite constantly eyeing it in store.

What Are You Anticipating?




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Friday, 14 November 2014

Bad Kitty - Michele Jaffe


Title: Bad Kitty
Author: Michele Jaffe
Series: Bad Kitty #1 
Publication Date: January, 24th 2006
Add to Goodreads | Buy from The BookDepository

Jasmine's an aspiring detective, self trained in sleuthing and investigating. Her dad's warned her to stay away from her usual mischief but a week in Vegas could contain many surprises.

It all starts with Jas run in with a cat.


Review

I haven't done a video review in so long, but I really enjoyed Bad Kitty so I thought it definitely needed a bit more attention.






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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Bedtime Reading: Throughout The Years

"To celebrate National Young Readers Day, I'm going to share my journey in reading before bed. I got the idea from Casper, an up and coming mattress company that understand how important sleep and reading are, and vow to create the most "outrageously comfortable mattresses." The team is inspired to build a "bed that loves you back."

On to the more relevant matter at hand - reading! I don't think I can quite pinpoint when I started reading, but I do remember spending countless of hours reading at home after school. I distinctly remember constantly borrowing the one book from the school library to take home with me.

Source: Brigette B
I can't find the actual copy that I read but The Twelve Dancing Princesses was my most loved book when I was younger. It was such a fascinating and enchanting story, with a bit of excitement and mystery. I read the picture book with swans as the princesses.

Later on, I ended up snuggled in bed with .. you guessed it - the Harry Potter series! This didn't happen until I was probably in year 7 or 8, but because I never had the internet reading was what I did the most. I re-read the series constantly but on the side I also really liked Twilight (no shame here).

Source: Lackuna
I find reading before sleeping is such a relaxing past time. But sometimes I end up reading way past my actual sleeping time because I'm too into the story and have to finish it. I'm pretty sure this is standard for every reader.

What Do You Read Before Bed?




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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who I'd Want To Read From

Hosted By: The Broke and The Bookish
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish, where we list our top ten according to a topic of the week. Check out future topics here.

Top Ten Characters I Wish Had Their Own Books


1. Noah Shaw in The Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin
Yum. Also, it would mean that series wouldn't actually be over - like it is now *cries*.

2. King Henry VIII in The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
This would definitely be fascinating, but also a really horrifying read. I feel like King Henry VIII would be delusional in his thought process and very, very sleazy.

3. Manon Blackbeak in Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Ok, Manon is badass and definitely needs a whole book to herself to tell her tale.

4. Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter Series by J. K Rowling
I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who thinks this, but a novel about Dumbledore's life will be absolutely epic.

5. Zane  from Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld
Zane was the one person I grew attached to in Uglies and I think it's because he had belief he wanted to fight for, and a strong sense of morale. A very good looking boy with some brains. Yes please.




6. Patch Cipriano from Hush Hush Series by Becca Fitzpatrick
I love Patch for silly reasons, and I think it'd be nice to hear from him again.

7. Tiny Cooper from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green
My favourite character in this novel, Tiny has so much energy and flamboyancy he needs to release it in his own tale!

8. Valentine Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
I was close to choosing Voldemort, but I think I know quite a bit of his life already, as opposed to Valentine and his motivations, which I don't know much about. It'd be weird, but quite interesting to read his rationale.

9. Boo Radley from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I love Boo Radley, even though I got to know him through Scout's perspective. I think it'd be fascinating to read from Boo and see the real side of him.

10. Adrian Ivashkov from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
This is a stupid choice, only because I know there's a spin off series with Adrian in it, but I just want to read through his perspective during the VA period. Or maybe even before that, and how he lived his flamboyant life.

Who's On Your List?




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Sunday, 9 November 2014

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) - Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Publication Date: January, 3rd 2012
Add to Goodreads | Buy from The BookDepository 
Cinder is part of new population in New Beijing, home to androids and humans. She's part human part cyborg, and detested for that. When Prince Kai comes to find her, in need of a mechanic, she quickly finds herself drawn to him and his life. But Cinder doesn't realise that there's more to her identity than she was told. She soon finds herself choosing between duty to the country or her own desire for freedom.

Even if it means losing everything she has, including her life.


Review

I wonder why I always find the well-loved series to be the ones I think was okay, not the absolute best. I was excited to read Cinder, and my brother really enjoyed it as well, so I think I expected quite a bit. It wasn't a bad read, it just didn't wow me.

I liked that it was an interesting take to the original tale. It still retained all the Cinderella aspects, but Meyer revamped the story so it stood out on its own. It was definitely different to the usual re-tellings, and a part of that was because of the world. The world building was strong, and the history behind the setting was what made it believable. I don't think World War IV is upon us, but I think it's a possibility. Something also intriguing was how New Beijing is a futuristic city, with modern technology and cyborgs but it reverted to monarchy - a system that is now long gone for China. I guess Meyer added the element to support the story about Cinderella, but I did find it ironic.

I don't think I entirely liked the characters. They seemed a bit flat to me, existing only in the book without dimensions to make them seem alive. I think that's why I couldn't attach myself to any of them. Cinder is smart and down to earth, but she was another version of the typical candy girl. Kai was the equally typical Prince Charming - cute, funny and loved by all. No one else really struck out at me either. Except maybe Dr. Erland, only because he was a mysterious character that I got to slowly learn about. I would have to say the relationship development was very insta-love, but I just took it as it is because that's basically what happened in the fairytale as well.

The plot twist was predictable right from the start, which made me impatient to get to the end. I just wanted to reach the moment where Kai and Cinder had their confrontation but it dragged out. What makes me want to keep reading the series though, was the cliffhanger in the end and what I would think is the transformation in Cinder. It's a driving point that I think could hold a lot of potential.




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Saturday, 8 November 2014

Book Wish List: Narrowing Down What To Buy

My list of books to buy is always so long, that I tend to just go nuts and buy anything and everything. It grows every single month, especially since I haven't bought a book in 3 months. Actually, scratch that. I've bought one this month and that's The Retribution of Mara Dyer, because I have waited too long for this.

So this year I've decided to narrow down my list to make buying books for my birthday just a bit easier. Can you really believe that I spent $300 worth of books for my birthday last year? Oh wait. I think we all have that problem.



1. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
This has been on my wish list even before it was released, and I am so ready to get my hands on it.

2. Burn For Burn Series by Jenny Han
Finally the entire series is out, with the covers looking the same as well.

3. The Cure For Dreaming by Cat Winters
Yes to Cat Winters and her creepy writing. I loved her previous novel, and hoping that this one meets my expectations as well.

4. The Assassin's Blade: Throne of Glass Novella by Sarah J. Maas
Going to fill my Throne of Glass withdrawals with stories about Calaena, and her previous life.

5. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
I really want to watch this movie, but my book reading habits means I have to read it first!



6. The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente
A lovely series with such a magical feeling to it.

7. Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas
I loved Dangerous Girls for its creepiness and thrilling read, and I'm pretty sure Dangerous Boys can deliver the same.

8. For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfruend
Let's be honest - this is a cover buy.

9. Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
I've wanted this for over a year already and I think it's finally I treat myself to something that's a bit pricier but very beautiful as well.

10. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
A bit of psychological thriller - why not?


11. S by J.J Abrams and Doug Dorst
A story within a story, set up as a library booked. This is fascinating and creative.

12. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
The companion novel to Code Name Verity, I'm ready to get back into the historical war setting.

13. The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory
For a series that I've loved, I'm not sure why I haven't picked up the final instalment yet. I'm very ashamed of myself.

14. Sky Fall Series by Shannon Messenger
*Cough* another cover buy *cough*. What it's so pretty!

15. Once by Cameron Dokey
Three fairytale retellings bound up into one book - I'm excited to read the Mulan retelling because I've never read one.

Phew, now that's done. On second thought, I think 12 books and 3 series will equal to about $300. I did not think this through.

What are you planning to buy next?




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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Program (The Program #1) - Suzanne Young

Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Series: The Program
Publication Date: April 30th, 2012
Add to Goodreads | Buy from The BookDepository
Suicide has become a disease, threatening to take over adolescent minds. If they're found with the side effects, The Program takes over and holds them in an institute to recover. The memories are wiped and they don't know who they were before. 

Sloane and her boyfriend James are struggling to get through each day. They lay low, but there's the feeling that The Program is after them. 

Review 


The Program was a surprising read, not because I expected it to be bad, but because it delved into deeper issues that left a really strong impression on me.

What I liked most was how it used suicide to explore the issue with social problems. I think this stuck with me because it really reflected what I've recently learnt at university. Social problems exist only because authority/government deem it so, and legislations come into play to make sure that society realises it's an issue. In reality, not a lot of those issues are as major as it seems, and could definitely be resolved in a different way - i.e., Asylum Seekers. This is exactly the problem in the novel, where the government believes or at least wants to believe, that suicide is a disease that needs to be contained. Targeting the younger group is like using them as a scapegoat, who are believed to be easily contagious, and society will believe it because they'd prefer to deal with this then any other explanation. It did a great job in relaying the control authority has over the people, and how extensive moral panic can be. It really left me with a lot to think about, which I love when reading books.

Plotwise, I think it was solid and to the point. It introduced the world and the characters, before moving straight into the complication. This meant that there was time for some character development and further progress with the conflict. I got to learn a lot about Sloane, her family situation, personality and just the person she was. I don't love her, but I do think she's a good character to read from. James remained a bit more mysterious, but he was written to be loved with his attractive appearance and rebellious nature. I think that Realm and Roger (a guard) were introduced to convey the two sides of authority. In Realm, you see more of humane side whilst Roger represents corruption and evilness. It really shows how there are morals to deal with, and if right will always defeat wrong.

The Program was a very intriguing read, and I found that I got a lot out of it then I expected. It's not an exceptional novel, just a really thought-provoking read. 




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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want To Re-Read

Hosted By: The Broke and The Bookish
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish, where we list our top ten according to a topic of the week. Check out future topics here.


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want To Re-Read
(Besides Harry Potter, because really, who doesn't want to re-read that all the time?) 


1. Noughts and Crosses (Nought and Crosses #1) by Malorie Blackman
This is probably one of the most underrated YA series ever, and I don't understand why! I read Noughts & Crosses in Year 7 and the story has stuck with me forever. It's a moving piece on discrimination, but also a heartbreaking love story. I really want to revisit it.

2. The Host (The Host #1) by Stephanie Meyer
I read The Host this year and already I want to read it again. I gave it five stars (review here), because I think it's such a worthwhile and thought-provoking read.

3. Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity #1) by Elizabeth Wein
A recent read as well (2012), but Code Name Verity has such a beautiful meaning with a bitter sweet ending. The characters were gorgeous and I want to read it before I get the companion novel.

4. Will Grayson Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green
Part of my top five, I think it's about time for my annual re-read.

5. The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon
The sequel to this is about to be released, and I am so excited. I didn't particularly love this one but I want to re-read it to see if I've missed anything and to jog my memory.




6. Deathless (Deathless #1) Catherynne M. Valente
Valente is a beautiful writer and its translate perfectly in Deathless, mixing both fantasy and mythical elements. This is an adult read but I just loved it.

7. Unearthly Series by Cynthia Hand
I finished this series this year, but because there was such a large gap between reading Unearthly and Hallowed I couldn't really make sense of everything in the last novel - Boundless.

8. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Johnathon Safran Foer
I loved every moment of this and have been wanting to buy this ever since finishing it - still have yet to though. Oscar is such a loveable boy and his journey is so moving.

9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
One of my favourite classics - I still have yet to re-read this despite enjoying it in high school.

10. The Shifting Fog by Kate Morton
Kate Morton is the ultimate and her genius-ness translates into everything she's written, including The Shifting Fog. It was such a thrilling and engaging read!

What Do You Want To Re-Read?




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