Friday, 24 February 2017

The Waiting List: March 2017 Releases


The Waiting List is a feature hosted by PrintedWordsAnd, where I list some upcoming releases for the month that I'm most excited about! 


March 2017 Releases

1. Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell
Very Throne of Glass like, but I guess that's why this has enticed me. Rose is a slave who has found an opportunity to escape, but she finds herself being part of a rebellion plot and now she needs to figure out where her loyalty lies.

2. Seven Days of You by Cecila Vinesse
Sophia has 7 days left before she leaves Tokyo to go back home. When Jamie, her ex, arrives in Tokyo the 7 days she has left is a test to their relationship. I don't know whether it's because I'm going to Tokyo and it's set there or because it takes place over 7 days so I'm expecting it to be intense and fast paced, but we will see!

3. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz
A contemporary about finding yourself, after being so sure in life before being confused and lost. Saenz wrote the amazing Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe series so I'm really hoping the writing will be as fantastic in this contemporary.

4. The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
I relate to this so much being a child from a refugee family. This is a graphic novel that relays the tremendous sacrifices and efforts put into seeking a new life for your own family and the consequences it may leave on you.

5. The Song Rising (The Bone Season #3) by Samantha Shannon
The third part to the epic fantasy that is now widely known within YA. I better hurry and read the second one first!

6. The End of Oz (Dorothy Must Die #4) by Danielle Paige
Again, another sequel where I'm only on the second book - eep. But I did really enjoy the plot of this series as it is such a bizarre but fascinating adaption to the Wizard of Oz.

7. The Heartbeats of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
Wing idolised her brother Marcus, much like everyone else in their town, but when he drives drunk and ends up in accident that kills two people, she has to learn to cope with her brothers decisions and the effects it leaves on the people around her. Very, very deep.

8. Nemesis by Brendan Reichs
Yes to thriller! Nemesis is introduced as Orphan Black meets Lord of the Flies, which sounds epic already. A girl constantly dies on the day of her birthday but wakes up with no evidence of it struggles to discover what is actually going on in her life.

9. Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love
This is Adult thriller, where the leader of the gang is actually Lola, the supposed leader's partner. She controls their movements and I am so in this because it is a female protagonist who is pulling the rings - despite committing crime.

10. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I'm fairly sure this is on everyone's list for most anticipated release of the year, let alone March. I am so excited because Taylor wrote one of my favourite series and I am expecting so much from this.

Which Novel Are You Waiting For This Month?

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me


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

There are always going to be books that exceed your expectations or fall so hard that you're not sure why you even tried in the first place. I share five delightfully surprising books, and five just downright disappoint reads.

Top Five Surprisingly Great Books


1. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
I think my surprise merely comes from the fact that the same author who wrote Twilight wrote this, and I fell in love with it.

2. The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett
Absolute favourite read of 2016! The Troupe was one of those TBR books that was about to become something I was going to give away. Thankfully I didn't!

3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
I knew that it was Ready Player One was popular but because I'm not a huge sci-fi fan I just figured it would be enjoyable. Instead, I am now converted.

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
This entire series was amazing - right from the get go. I thought I got over the whole angel/demon fantasy phase but this sucked me right back in.

5. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
I stuck it out for a really long time with Shantaram and I do not regret it one bit. If you want thought provoking and just philosophical, this is the one.


Top Five Surprisingly Disappointing Books


1. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
I absolutely disliked this so much - from the characters to the story, I was so disappointed that it didn't turn out the way I expected.

2. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Finding Audrey was meh. I kept hearing about it but felt really underwhelmed.

If I had to name a book that I despise it would be this one. I was excited after reading Lockhart's other book and now I'm a little scarred.

4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
This is probably along the same lines as The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks but I actually DNF'd ACOMAF because I could not get past how much I was beginning to hate everything that was happening. So sad.

5. You by Caroline Kepnes
I read this awhile back and did not like at all. Now it is a super popular thriller and I'm a little taken back by it.

Which Books Have Delighted Or Disappointed You?

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Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is Absolutely Haunting

Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender 
Author: Lesyle Walton
Publication Date:
Add to Goodreads | Buy from The Book Depository
Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.


Review


Walton creates a beautiful piece of work, not just a story but something much more, which has left such a strong impression on me. Her writing is whimsical and poetic, with such unique phrases and moments that captures the emotion so well. Despite having Ava recount her grandmother and mother's tale, I felt like I was right there with all three of them. I couldn't help but feel joy, grief or hope when they felt it. Walton excelled in storytelling and for that, even though, parts of the story may not have been realistic, she still succeeded in producing a fantastic novel.

"She spent her days trying to forget the sound of his voice, and her nights trying to remember."

I loved the story. I loved every single moment, even though most of it was so sad. I knew the book was going to have upsetting events, but I didn't think I would've felt so heavy from the grief. Along with Ava, I began to learn how heartbreaking love can be and the toll it takes on women. The effects it left on her grandmother and mother left scars that crossed over to Ava's generation. However, it also conveyed how much love there is beyond that of a man and a woman and how deep these emotions can travel amongst us.
"Just because love don't look the way you think it should, don't mean you don't have it."
I don't think I've ever read a novel that was so saddening but full of hope as well. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrow of Ava Lavender is such a memorable read, filled with strong characters, emotion and an overall beautiful message. It is a haunting read that will lift you up even through the all the sorrow that lays in the story. It's also so impressive that this is Walton's debut novel

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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Talking Personal: Hello 2017!

I don't know how but we've made it to 2017 guys! The last time I caught up with you all was in October last year. Since then I've been up to a couple of things - many celebrations, lots and lots of work, and just great company.

I celebrated my 22nd with two big events. One was flying out to Gold Coast for a fun girls weekend, and the second a joint birthday party with my lovely friend.




My last trip to the Gold Coast was in 2012, so this time around it was a little different. I loved that we got to be kids again - we went to theme parks and rode on rides, took photos with the different characters and just took heaps of photos. It was chilled and such a good way to get away and take a short break. Downside was probably ending up there when Schoolies started. The place was teeming with year 12s, ready to celebrate the end of their final year of high school.

The party was definitely a highlight of the year despite being such a messy night. I do feel like that'll be the end of big birthday celebrations for me though.


I got to see Flume live with the ever so lovely Jack and Eadie as well, and it was a great time! I'm not a huge Flume fan but he sure knows how to put on a show.

Then Christmas came around and this time my aunty and uncle came down from Sydney to stay with us. They brought along their 2 year old daughter who is such a gem, and my absolute favourite! I love Christmas and everything about it so I was super excited and happy during December.




New Years my parents went away so I spent it celebrating with my group of friends. Chinese New Year and the Australian Open rolled around and that was really about it. 


2016 ended with heaps of highs and I'm hoping 2017 will bring many more memories. I hope you guys have a splendid 2017 as well.

What Have You Guys Been Up To?

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Love, love, love!

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

Top Romances In Books
In honour of Valentines Day, I wanted to take a look at all the romantic tropes and which books did them the best. PLUS share who my favourite couples are, because who doesn't love a good OTP.



Who Are Your Favourite Fictional Couples?


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Sunday, 12 February 2017

Film vs. Novel: The Girl On The Train


Title: The Girl On The Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publication Date: January 13th, 2015
Add to Goodreads | Buy from The Book Depository
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be happy.

And then she sees something shocking, and in one moment everything changes. Now Rachel has a chance to become. part of the lives she's only watched from afar.

Now they'll see: she's much more than jut the girl on the train ...



Review


Between the book and the film, I can easily say that I found the movie to be a better experience in appreciating the story and its characters. I know, scandalous. I wouldn't exactly say the movie is better than the book, but that the method in delivering the story was more suited for me.

I struggled to engage with the plot and the characters because of the narration of the novel. It's written in first person, through the three female protagonists, in a stream of consciousness type of way. However, for the most part I found it to be stagnant and dry. I couldn't really relate to any of them and because of it being in first person, they were all so unreliable that I just didn't like any of them. For me, at least, I found the characters to be vehicles that drove the story rather than individuals with a story to tell (if that makes any sense). In saying that, the ending was gripping and I definitely did not expect the plot twist at the end. It made the novel worth the read, which was a relief. 

I preferred the movie for it's storytelling and acting. The events are told through flashbacks and voiceovers done by the characters, whilst the storyline progresses, which I liked. It made it more suspenseful and as a viewer I felt like I was right next to the characters, trying to figure out the mystery of the disappearance as well. Rachel, Anna and Megan also felt more alive. This is definitely due to having actresses play them, but the acting really made me believe that they were real life people recounting their stories. I actually empathised with them a lot, as opposed to despising them like I did in the book. All three are bound by a significant moment, but their past and present are marred by horrendous events that make them flawed in such saddening ways. 

Verdict

The Girl On The Train is still worth the read. Even though I enjoyed the movie more, I appreciated the novel for providing me minor details around the plot and characters that the movie didn't have. In particular the character Scott I found to be portrayed in such a bad light in the movie. You learn more about him in the book. Definitely watch the movie though. I really did like it.


Book Rating



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Thursday, 9 February 2017

So Many Brunch Places, So Little Time


So as you guys are well aware, I was very much absent from the blogging and reading scene much of last year. However, not all bad came out of that. Instead, I actually got to brunch to my hearts content for the past few months and am so excited to share these places with you guys!

I am a mad brunch lover, possibly because it's the Melbourne in me, or mainly because it's another opportunity for me to update Instagram. Either way I just love food in general.


Would Brunch Here Every Week

Baba Sus (Glen Iris)

Known for: Hong Kong Egg Waffles

It took me forever to actually try out Baba Sus but I was not disappointed. I actually ordered off the lunch menu, and the tofu dish was amazing. I'm kind of saddened that they don't have both the dishes we ordered on their menu anymore, but the Hong Kong Egg Waffles are worth going for. Whether you have a sweet tooth or not I would highly recommend you try it out!

Elk Espresso (Broadbeach)

Known for: Passionfruit and Coconut Panna Cotta
Ordered: Potato Hash with bacon

This little gem is actually located in Broadbeach, Queensland. My best friend and I wanted to try out a brunch place whilst on holiday - again, I guess it's a Melbourne thing - and I am so glad we went here. The cafe was a super cute, artsy place close to Broadbeach. The hash itself wasn't heavy, and I liked that the hollandaise sauce was the right acidity.


Left Field (Carnegie)

Known for: Cookies and Cream Donut Sliders,
Ordered: Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Shoulder Benedict, Smashed Peas Bruschetta , Sautéed Portobello Mushrooms and Cookies and Cream Donut Sliders.

Despite having been here 3 times already I definitely would come back. I rarely go to the same brunch place more than twice, more because there are so many other places to try, but the menu offers variety and is an easy location to find. There's a homely, community feel to it and the food tastes fresh and flavoursome.


Penta (Elsternwick)

Known for: Chilli Scrambled Eggs, Nutella Panna Cotta
Ordered: Chilli Scrambled Eggs, Nutella Panna Cotta and Orange Blossom Hotcakes

I actually visited Penta today and already I want to go back and try out their Breakfast Bowl. I don't think the Chilli Scrambled Eggs lived up to my expectations - it lacked spice and had an overwhelming shallot taste. The Orange Blossom Hotcakes on the other hand, was so enjoyable. It the right amount of sweet and the orange flavour was refreshing. 


Merchants Guild (Bentleigh East)

Ordered: Espresso Infused French Toast

The French toast was so good, I would go back just for that, even though there is a lot more to try out on the menu. I don't drink coffee myself and anything too strong can be overwhelming but it's infused in such a subtle way that was very enjoyable.



Ordered: Buttermilk Hotcake

There is a lot of meat on this menu - I mean the name of the place speaks for itself - but despite that, I ordered the dish with the least meat. I absolutely loved it. The hotcakes were soft and tasted amazing with the bacon ice cream. I mean there were bacon pieces in the ice cream!!!

Three Bags Full (Abbotsford)

Ordered: Twice Bake French Toast, Chilli Scrambled Eggs and Eggs in Hell

Their egg dishes are great - I haven't tried a place that has had chilli scrambled eggs as good as Three Bags Full. The French toast was okay but I have had better before. Although I did like the addition of rhubarb because it gave a sharp, tangy taste to the sweetness of the toast.

Maybe If I Had Spare Time

Axil Coffee Roasters (Hawthorn, Chadstone)

 Known for: Red Velvet Pancakes, Ferro Rocher Waffles
Ordered: Baked eggs, The Roaster's Breakfast, Broad bean and pea falafels and Red Velvet Pancakes

Axil just recently opened up on the ground floor of Chadstone Shopping Centre, which made it super handy to try out this famous brand originating from Hawthorn. Myself and three other friends tried out four dishes with the Baked Eggs being our choice of the four. The Red Velvet Pancakes were great for picture purposes but slightly too sweet to enjoy as the first meal of the day.

Little Big Sugar Salt (Abbotsford)

 Ordered: Bowl of Health

I have to be honest and say I was underwhelmed with LBSS. At the same time though, I think I need to give the menu more of a chance. In fact the dishes are uniquely titled and very funny - they're named after famous celebrities. It's a small place, not super chic but I guess that adds to its character.

The Last Piece (Mulgrave)

 Ordered: Big Breakfast and Calamari Salad

We ordered a mix of brunch and lunch, but the location of this place is probably the one reason why I would revisit. It's local and offers a range of familiar dishes that would be able to satisfy any brunch craving but without the travel - at least for me. It's also right at the Hawthorn Football Club training ground so if you want to see any training sessions or even the players, head there.

Could Do Without

Manchester Press (Melbourne CBD)

Known for: Bagels, bagels and ... more bagels.
Ordered: Blueberry Bagel

There's only so many bagels you can have, and really I would prefer to try other dishes and other places.

Pillar of Salt (Richmond)

Ordered: Poached Eggs

Maybe it was because of how slow the service was, but I was left pretty dissatisfied with the food. The place itself is nice, with an outdoor area that's nice in the spring or summer.

Temperance Society (Hughesdale)

Ordered: Chilli Scrambled Eggs, Orange Blossom Hotcakes

Again, another place that had a disappointing chilli scrambled eggs dish and really that was the one y thing I wanted to try on the menu.

Two Birds, One Stone (South Yarra)

Ordered: The Big Breakfast

I have no idea what went wrong here but for one I barely ate any of the big breakfast and two I just don't think anything else will entice me to go back.

Whether you're living in Melbourne or coming by one day, brunch is the number one thing to try.

What's Your Favourite Brunch Place? Recommend Me A Place To Go!


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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

What I Want 2017 To Look Like | Goals & GRWM

I know I titled this post as setting goals for 2017, but if I'm going to be honest with myself, I feel like this year will be more focused on improving previous goals I've set.

I found 2016 to be such a reality check, not only with my blog and reading commitments but just life itself. Maybe it's because I'm moving away from my teen years and now realise that I can't just cruise through every day and hope I miraculously wake up to $10,000,000 in the bank and a job that I've always dreamed of. I know, I'm such an idiot. Which means that, for me at least, 2017 is the year I rethink everything I know about myself and my life. Very, very deep stuff everybody. 

I am such an overly ambitious person that once I over commit I tend to never deliver. And this is so true especially with my blog. It's such a huge thing I need to work on because I want to strive to achieve my goals, tick off things that will make me feel fulfilled and satisfied, but I need to remind myself baby steps are the way to go. So without further ado, let's take a quick look at my 2016 resolutions and how I'm going to tweak them this year to achieve them.

Also enjoy me and my very amateur make up application.




If I had to summarise basically 2017 is going to be a year focused on me, and the steps I want to take to achieve long term goals.

Reading wise I want to read memorable and enjoyable books, rather than numerous amount of books. With blogging and YouTubing  I want to be able to produce content that I'm 100% happy with, instead of feeling like I want to release posts or videos purely for views or subscribers.

I really hope 2017 is going to be amazing and I know majority of it is up to me. So cheers to a new year filled with motivation and more doing, less saying.

What Are Your Goals For 2017?


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Thursday, 2 February 2017

"Gemina" Was As Amazing As I Thought It'd Be

Title: Gemina 
Series: The Illuminae Files
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publication Date: October 18th, 2016
Add to Goodreads | Buy from The Book Depository
Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed. 

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy's most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station's wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They've totally got this. They hope.

Source: Goodreads

Review


I don't know why it took me so long to actually pick up Gemina, seeing as I loved Illuminae, but boy was I in for a ride. Yet again, Kaufman and Kristoff sucked me back into the world and had me on edge for most of it.

Originally I was kind of disappointed that the sequel to this series was going to be a companion novel because I miss Kady and Ezra so much! That didn't last very long though. Nik and Hanna are amazing individuals themselves - both sassy, hilarious and just genuinely likeable characters. They definitely did remind me of Kady and Ezra but it didn't feel like a character mould that the authors re-used in this secondary book. We're also introduced to Nik's cousin Ella who stole the spotlight for me. As much as I loved the two protagonists, Ella was super smart and witty, easily a character I would've wanted to become friends with in real life.

The setup of Gemina follows that of Illuminae with IM chats, diagrams, transcripts and just every artsy thing that kept me interested. I think I lived for the IM chats between Nik and Hanna because it was such a creative way to convey how their relationship progressed and also a way to get to know them. I found that I was never lost, despite the pretty complex sci-fi references, because there was always a diagram or image that displayed what the text was trying to explain.

Even with minimal text, the story was constantly action packed and intense. There were so many gripping moments and at the climax I was actually quite overwhelmed by emotion. I also liked that there were references back to Illuminae and events just seemed to make more sense or built up towards what could potentially happen if Heimdall and Hypatia ever met up.

I do still think I love Illuminae (review here) just a bit more - more because it introduced me to the world and the characters. In saying that, Gemina is one of the rare sequels that live up to the expectations set by the initial book, and for that I would highly recommend anyone who hasn't started the series to do it. Now!



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