Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lemony Snicket Appreciation Post (Part 8)

Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby- awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess.
- Lemony Snicket

- Lemony Snicket

I will love you as the iceberg loves the ship, and the passengers love the lifeboat and the lifeboat loves the teeth of the sperm whale, and the sperm whale loves the flavor of naval uniforms.
- Lemony Snicket

Assumptions are dangerous things to make, and like all dangerous things to make -- bombs, for instance, or strawberry shortcake -- if you make even the tiniest mistake you can find yourself in terrible trouble. Making assumptions simply means believing things are a certain way with little or no evidence that shows you are correct, and you can see at once how this can lead to terrible trouble. For instance, one morning you might wake up and make the assumption that your bed was in the same place that it always was, even though you would have no real evidence that this was so. But when you got out of your bed, you might discover that it had floated out to sea, and now you would be in terrible trouble all because of the incorrect assumption that you'd made. You can see that it is better not to make too many assumptions, particularly in the morning.
- Lemony Snicket

The key to good eavesdropping is not getting caught.
- Lemony Snicket

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lemony Snicket Appreciation Post (Part 7)

One of the greatest myths in the world - & the phrase 'greatest myths' is just a fancy way of saying 'big fat lies' -- is that troublesome things get less & less troublesome if you do them more & more. People say this myth when they are teaching children to ride bicycles, for instance, as though falling off a bicycle & skinning your knee is less troublesome the fourteenth time you do it than it is the first time. The truth is that troublesome things tend to remain troublesome no matter how many times you do them, & that you should avoid doing them unless they are absolutely urgent.
- Lemony Snicket

The sad truth is the truth is sad.
- Lemony Snicket

Perhaps if we saw what was ahead of us, and glimpsed the follies, and misfortunes that would befall us later on, we would all stay in our mother's wombs, and then there would be nobody in the world but a great number of very fat, very irritated women.
- Lemony Snicket

There are two kinds of fears: rational and irrational- or in simpler terms, fears that make sense and fears that don't.
- Lemony Snicket

I don't know if you've ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong.
- Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Interview with Anne Osterlund, Author of Academy 7

I was fortunate enough to interview Anne Osterlund, author of Aurelia and the just-released Academy 7 which came out in stores in the US on May 14th...

First off, what is Academy 7 about?

It is the story of a girl, Aerin, who is fleeing a dangerous planet and trying to find a better life. And Dane, a young man fresh out of prison, who is determined to want absolutely nothing because that is what he has been trained to expect. And together they become the top new students at the most prestigious school in the universe. Think Star Wars meets The Outsiders.

Can you describe Dane in three words?

Guts, self-destructive, trouble

How about Aerin?

Defensive, kick-ass, brilliant

How would you describe your writing style?

It is whatever the characters insist it should be. Generally swift YA with romance to taste and enough danger and death to keep the action going, even when stirred under a ream of— sometimes annoying—perfectionism.

Growing up, what sort of books did you read?

Tons! Especially young adult fantasy and historical fiction. Tamora Pierce, Ann Rinaldi, Richard Peck’s Blossom Culp books, Sally Watson, L.M. Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, Walter Farley, Mark Twain, and, yes, I admit umpteen thousand Sweet Valley Twins and Babysitter’s Club books.

Who is your favorite character you've created?

A very loaded question. (They create themselves). I love Aurelia. She is very opinionated and stubborn, but her strength, passion, and agility within an argument are terrific fun. Dane is a blast! He is always tearing up everyone’s expectations, including mine; and there is really no getting around him because he is far too interesting to ignore. That said, I would go crazy trying to live in Aurelia’s or Dane’s heads all the time. There is definitely something to be said for Robert and Aerin and a wee bit of perspective, LOL. The truth is I love all my main characters, and if I didn’t I couldn’t do them justice.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?

Time shall tell. I have submitted a couple projects and am waiting to hear what my publisher is the most interested in. Personally, Robert, Aurelia, and I are currently confronting Lord Lester on his estate in the middle of the Asyan Forest in Exile, which is the second book in a trilogy; however, Penguin (much to Aurelia’s ire) says they would like another book but that they don’t think there is enough interest in a sequel. So…I can tell you there is a thief called The Cat, a boy who would rather not be everyone else’s salvation, a slave girl who breaks things, a pioneer girl who prefers to go by Alex, and—Oh yes!—a snake. You’ll probably meet one of them sooner and the rest ultimately.

You can find out more about Anne and her books at

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday, May 20

After reading Envy by Anna Godbersen the other day (you can read my review here), I am eagerly anticipating the next book (which will be book four!) in the series.

It's Splendour (with a U!!) and I don't know too much about it, but I have been eyeing the cover. The dress is cool and all but the styling and everthing doesn't look like what I would expect for the 1900s. (More so for the picture that was in the backcover of Envy than the little picture I have in this post, it looked different, honest!) It's pretty, though :)

It’s a new year, and Manhattan’s favorite socialites are stirring up brand-new drama: Elizabeth uncovers a dangerous secret from her past; Diana has an opportunity to follow her heart—and claim her future, Lina discovers money can buy happiness…for a time, and Penelope finds that life without Henry brings unexpected pleasures. In this dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, old ties are broken, fresh bonds are formed, and every decision comes at a cost.

It's coming out in late October in the US. Not sure about Australia though as Envy was only just released here!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Review: Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast is (yet another, hehe) vampire book and while I have been reading a lot of vampire books lately I am not getting bored of them! Marked is the first book in The House of Night series and is about Zoey Redbird, a 16 year old girl who is 'marked' to become a vampyre and must go to 'The House of Night' a school for fledgling vampyres... or else she will die. At her new school Zoey quickly finds out she is different than the others, she has great powers and a bloodlust well beyond her years. Taking a unique approach, the vampyres in Marked worship the goddess Nyx and focuses on the occult.

The writing style of this book really appealed to me. It seemed quite opinionated and had a lot of attitude :) The book is written by P.C Cast and her daughter, Kristin Cast, and clearly the mother-and-daughter writing team works very well! I'd be very interested to find out more about their collaboration (they've gone on to write many more books in the series).

The characters in Marked are very likeable (with the obvious exception of Aphrodite who we love to hate). Zoey is a smart, strong protagonist and her group of friends are varied and interesting.

Marked has a fast moving pace which kept me very interesting, I found it very hard to put this book down. Though the final scenes in the book seemed to come about, and end, a little too fast. The book ended with a lot of purposely unanswered questions - so I'm definitely looking forward to finding out what will happen to Zoey in the future.

Easily one of my favourite books of the year!

Marked is available now in Australia from Hachette - you can find out more here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lemony Snicket Appreciation Post (Part 6)

It is always sad when someone leaves home, unless they are simply going around the corner and will return in a few minutes with ice-cream sandwiches.
- Lemony Snicket

The Wide Window

All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk.
- Lemony Snicket

I suppose I'll have to add the force of gravity to my list of enemies.
- Lemony Snicket

Duncan Quagmire
Duncan Quagmire

This is my knife. It is very sharp and very eager to hurt you.
- Lemony Snicket

The Hook Handed Man
The Hook Handed Man know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.
- Lemony Snicket

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman is probably the book I have been looking forward to the most this year because there has been so much hype! I have heard so many people say how good it is and it's already got a movie deal so when my copy came I somewhat prioritized it and read it really quickly :) I wasn't really sure what to expect because after I decide that I want to read a book I don't really want to find out more about it because I'm going to read it anyway! It's like if I've already decided I want to see a movie I don't want to watch trailers for it because they're just going to give things away! Getting back on track, my point is that for me a lot of reading If I Stay was balancing what I actually thought of the book with this super-best-book-ever-ever-ever idea I had framed in my mind. And did it live up to the hype?

It was a good book, I was definitely absorbed in it because I read it very quickly which is always a good sign with me. The story is about Mia who is in a coma but sort of outside her body and able to see what is going on in a kind of spirit-way. She has to make a choice, 'to stay' - to fight and try to survive - or else die! W(hich is actually quite morbid.) I didn't find myself as emotionally involved as I thought I might have been, I didn't cry for one and I got the impression that I should have! (Thought I might be getting cold-hearted in my old age as I watched Titanic the other day and I didn't shed a tear!) The book is told in a combination of the present with Mia seeing what's going on when people come visit her at the hospital and in flash-backs as Mia remembers things about her family and the people that are coming to see her.

As a bit of a side note, If I Stay is going to be made into a film. I'm really interested to see how they will do this as it wasn't the sort of book I read and could really envision as a film because a lot of the action is really just going with Mia's thoughts I guess. I suppose there will be a lot of flash-backs?! I will definitely go see it at any rate.

If I Stay was the sort of book that raises a lots of questions and hopefully will make you think about yourself and the sort of decisions you would make in these kind of impossible situations. While I may not have been entirely taken in with the characters, the story itself was an extremely thought-provoking one and I am glad to have read it.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman is published by Random House in Australia and is out now. You can find out more here.

Review: Envy by Anna Godbersen

Envy by Anna Godbersen is the third book in the Luxe series, which is all about a group of beautiful, young, incredibly wealthy people living in New York City at the start of the 20th century. Envy, is probably my favourite book so far in the series (I didn't really enjoy the first book (The Luxe) but I liked Rumours and this one is even better).

To keep things fresh and interesting, Envy sees most of the characters go down to Florida for a holiday. I think the change of setting was a good move and made for interesting reading. The whole Luxe series is quite reminiscent of Gossip Girl (even down to the 'society columns' which could easily be interchanged to Gossip Girl's modern blog-posts) it has a set of characters who all know each other but are all doing their own things with each chapter focusing on one of the characters. However, I think the historical aspects of the Luxe series keep the books from feeling 'trashy' like the Gossip Girl books, even though admittedly the story-lines are at times a little trashy, hehe. It's all good!

I always have mixed feelings about books where the story only focuses on one character at a time. It's great in one way because the different story lines are interesting and it means that the plot doesn't have to be racing along to keep the story moving. It does annoy me a little sometimes though when I'm really interested in finding out about a certain character and I know I'm going to have to read a lot of other stories before I can find out more.

The character and storyline that I really enjoyed was Carolina's; she used to be a maid for Elizabeth Holland (another main character in the story) but is now trying to make a name for herself as a society girl. This storyline began in Rumours and to me was made the difference between not really enjoying The Luxe and to making Rumours highly enjoyable. I would have been happy to read an entire book about this one storyline!

The cover art of Envy is gorgeous with the decadent dress and the pretty flowers and font. Although of course I would have loved the girl on the cover to be wearing a green dress to suit 'envy'! Often in the book the author described the dresses the girls were wearing in EXTREME detail which felt a little clunky to me but was interesting nonetheless.

The Luxe series is continuing with the next book, Splendour.

Envy by Anna Godbersen (more info here) is published by Penguin and is out now in Australia!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday, May 13

I'm really looking forward to How It Ends by Laura Wiess. Laura is the author of Such A Pretty Girl and Leftovers both of which were aaaaaamazing. So I have very high expectations for this one too... it's not out until August though :(

And here's what it's about...

All Hanna's wanted since sophomore year is Seth. She's gone out with other guys, even gained a rep for being a flirt, all the while hoping cool, guitar-playing Seth will choose her. Then she gets him – but their relationship is hurtful, stormy and critical, not at all what Hanna thinks a perfect love should be.

Bewildered by Seth's treatment of her and in need of understanding, Hanna decides to fulfill her school's community service requirement by spending time with Helen, her terminally ill neighbor, who she's turned to for comfort and wisdom throughout her life. But illness has changed Helen into someone Hanna hardly knows, and her home is not the refuge it once was.

Feeling more alone than ever, Hanna gets drawn into an audio book the older woman is listening to, a fierce, unsettling love story of passion, sacrifice and devotion. Hanna's fascinated by the idea that such all-encompassing love can truly exist, and without even realizing it, the story begins to change her.

Until the day when the story becomes all too real...and Hanna's world is spun off its axis by its shattering irrevocable conclusion.

This is the US cover, I prefer it to the UK cover (above). It's in the same style as the covers of Laura Wiess's other two books so I hope we get this one in Australia! Which one do you like better?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lemony Snicket Appreciation Post (Part 5)

People aren't either wicked or noble. They're like chef's salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.
- Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto

Damocles Dock

Right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.
— Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril

Evidence desk
Evidence Desk

No matter who you are, no matter where you live, and no matter how many people are chasing you, what you don't read is often as important as what you do read.
- Lemony Snicket


Well-read people are less likely to be criminals.
- Lemony Snicket
potterhead: The bad beginning to a phenominal series!

Strange as it may seem, I still hope for the best, even though the best, like an interesting piece of mail, so rarely arrives, and even when it does it can be lost so easily.
- Lemony Snicket

Love The Cover, Ash by Malinda Lo

I love the cover of the as-yet unreleased Ash by Malinda Lo. When I saw it for the first time, I only saw a small picture and it looked like some kind of pretty flower or shell but then I saw it bigger and wow it is a fantastic cover! (You can click on it to enlarge)

Here's what Ash is about:

In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left alone to pay off his debts in the service of her own step mother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, re-reading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she begins to believe that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love—and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Entrancing and romantic, Ash is an empowering retelling of Cinderella about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

It's not out until September. You can find out more here.