Genie's Weekly News (11)

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Hi everyone and welcome to my weekly blog feature to recap the week with bookish news and what to expect coming up! So without further ado...

*Reading Right Now*


*Previous Posts*

*Recommendation of the Week*

Definitely any graphic novels by Neil Gaiman - his fairytale retellings of The Sleeper and the Spindle and Hansel and Gretel are especially good!

*From The Interwebs*


No new books this week, but I did get some DVD's that I wanted to watch, Now I have 'The Fault In Our Stars' to go into my book-movie adaptation collection and the other two are historical which appeals to me.

*Movie Reactions*

I saw Mockingjay Part 1 on Saturday night with my friends and it definitely lived up to expectations. The book itself wasn't my favourite of the three, but the movie was intense, edgy and had so much action. It cut where I thought it would, leaving plenty of room for more in the final installment. If you haven't seen it yet I'd definitely recommend it!

*Other news*

I'm hoping this will be me by the time this term is over

I haven't been posting as often here in this past week or had the time to visit other blogs as much as I usually would, since exams are once again looming. In a couple of weeks though it'll be the Christmas holidays which means more time for reading and blogging!

Review: Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman

Thursday, 27 November 2014

23494321The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman/Lorenzo Mattotti
Released: 11th December 2014
Published by: Bloomsbury
Genre: Fantasy, Fairytales, Illustrated
Source: Publisher
Pages: 56
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Bookworld | Book Depository
The enduring story of the children, the breadcrumb trail and the gingerbread house is brought to life by master storyteller, Neil Gaiman. Who better to retell the Brothers Grimm's greatest, and perhaps darkest, fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel? Coupled with breathtakingly haunting illustrations from Lorenzo Mattotti, you will be enticed into the world and into the woods . . . so beware.
Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishers  Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

In this rendition of Hansel and Gretel, Neil Gaiman hasn't strayed too far from the original story. Even so, it has been a long time since I have immersed myself in the Grimm's version - and there is an undeniable ominous edge to this one which you just can't help but be captivated by.

It is undeniable that this is already a dark fairytale in its original form, without any illustrations at all. So it comes as no surprise when you do add these vivid and edgy black sketches that they truly capture the essence of what this story is all about: two children who have the odds pitted against them because of the adults they are supposed to trust.

If you've read Neil Gaiman's The Sleeper and the Spindle which was also released this year, you'll definitely notice the difference in the overall styles of these books. While the former had much more intricately drawn illustrations that reflected the vibe emanating from that book, this one seems more simplistic, but leaves no less of an impact on the reader.

One thing which stood out to me about this book aside from the story itself was the extra part at the end which talked about how the original Hansel and Gretel fairytale evolved over the centuries. It is fascinating to see how one tale can lead to the next one with a minor alteration, before morphing into something else yet again. 


In all, reading Hansel and Gretel has reaffirmed why I have come to love Neil Gaiman's work. He has a flair for melding fairytales that we know to make us see them in a different light. I'll definitely be looking out for more of his work in the future!

Waiting on Wednesday: All Fall Down

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where the participants tell their readers about an upcoming release they are waiting to read. This week I've picked All Fall Down by Ally Carter. 

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:
1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her–so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door who is keeping an eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands. Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts.

But they can’t control Grace–no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world all stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

I like the sound of this upcoming YA mystery/thriller with that espionage theme, so this book looks like a promising release.

Releasing 27th January 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Summer TBR

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by bloggers at The Broke and the BookishThis week I'm sharing the top ten books I have on my summer TBR. 

1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alive Saenz


This is a contemporary which I have high expectations for, but I can't wait to read it in the summer holidays!

2. Faking It  by Gabrielle Tozer


I loved The Intern so I'm looking forward to see what Josie gets up to in this sequel.

3. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick


Summer is a great time for contemporaries, so I couldn't miss putting this Huntley Fitzpatrick gem on the list. 

4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey


I just recently got this from the library and will hopefully get to it soon!

5. Gilt by Katherine Longshore


Historical fiction is another one of my favourite genres, so I'm definitely going to try and read this one. 

6. Pivot Point by Kasie West


I bought a copy of this ages ago, so the summer holidays is the perfect time to finally get to it. 

7. Every Breath by Ellie Marney


This sounds like it has a fantastic mystery and has received high praise from other Aussie bloggers!

8. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson


With the word 'summer' already in the title, I'm ready to give this book a good chance. 

9. Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington


I loved the 'Disruption' series so I'm eager to read more from Jessica Shirvington. 

10. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson


A whimsical adventure back to the story of Peter Pan sounds like a great idea for a summer read. 

Over to you - what books do you want to read on your summer/winter TBR?

Genie's Weekly News (10)

Monday, 24 November 2014

Hi everyone and welcome to my weekly blog feature to recap the week with bookish news and what to expect coming up! So without further ado...

*Reading Right Now*


*Previous Posts*

*Recommendation of the Week*


I didn't write a review for this, but I did enjoy Mothers and Daughters as a piece of Australian fiction which has an interesting insight into that dynamic.

*From The Interwebs*

*Book Haul*

  • Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman - I read The Sleeper and the Spindle which Neil Gaiman retold in a really fascinating way, so I can't wait to check out this one!

*Other news*

I have a giveaway running for 3 copies of 'This Shattered World' by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner so if you're interested you can check it out here

Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award

Thank you to Bernadette from Bumbling Bookworm for nominating me! It's a great other initiative 

The Rules:
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer the ten questions they have sent you.
  • Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate ten people.

What’s your favourite book outside of the genre you read most often?

I most often read YA, but outside of that I don't mind reading adult contemporary fiction or thrillers, and I really enjoyed Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting. 


Any TV shows in particular that you’re addicted to right now?

Not right at the moment, but I can't wait until Downton Abbey comes back on! - I'm a big fan of historical dramas. 

Summer, Autumn, Winter or Spring? And why?

My birthday is in Summer which is nice, and aside from the heatwaves which we get here in Australia, it's still a great season to go to the beach, eat lots of mangoes and relax in the holidays. 

Do you have a favourite place to read?

On my bed or the couch - but I've always wanted to try reading in a hammock or something. 

What’s your favourite book to visual adaptation?

Ooh good question! I can't pick just one, so I'd have to go with Gone Girl and Catching Fire. 

Do you listen to audiobooks and, if so, where do you get them from?

I haven't actually listened to an audiobook before but it's definitely something that I want tot try out soon. 

What’s your favourite quote?

Once again it's hard to choose, but I love the saying 'A reader lives a thousand lives'. 

Most recent holiday? Any more planned?

I haven't been on a holiday in a while, but The Blue Mountains is where I last went. I don't have anything planned right now, but we'll see!

Sweets or savouries?

I do have a sweet tooth, but savouries have always been more my thing. 

What is the thing you love most about blogging?

Being able to share my passion for reading with you guys and meeting other bloggers to fangirl with!

My Questions:
  1.  If you could travel to a setting in a book, where would it be?
  2. What's your opinion on love triangles?
  3. Do you judge a book by its cover?
  4. What under-rated book have you read that you'd recommend?
  5. Have you ever felt a 'black sheep' when it came to not liking a book that everyone else seemed to have been fangirling about?
  6. Best book boyfriend?
  7. What's your favourite food?
  8. How do you achieve a blogger-life balance?
  9. What's one of your hobbies outside of reading?
  10. What is the biggest thing you've learned about book blogging since starting?

Review/Author Interview/Giveaway: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Sunday, 23 November 2014

22845414This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Released: 1st December 2014
Series: Starbound #2
Published by: Allen and Unwin 
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Source: Publisher
Pages: 374
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Bookworld | Book Depository
The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war. Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met. Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents. Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

The stunning second novel in the Starbound trilogy is an unforgettable story of love and forgiveness in a world torn apart by war.
Thank you to Allen and Unwin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

He could tell me he doesn't want to lose me, but we're both already lost, and only the tether between us keeps us from drifting out into the black.

This Shattered World takes the best of what Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have to offer, to create yet another amazing YA science fiction novel that surpassed my high expectations. This is a story that places you right in the midst of the action where danger may lurk behind every corner. Loyalties are tested. Secrets are released. Tensions come to the surface. After all that's gone down, you'll finish this book remembering why you love this series in the first place!

I don't have the luxury of dealing with his hormones - or mine, for that matter. What, did he think I was just going to melt into his arms? Start a tragic and dramatic tale of star-crossed lovers on a war-torn planet?

Once again in this book the main protagonists were really well-developed. Jubilee especially took on a kick-ass personality where she knew how to lead and get the job done. While her determination and hard-lined desire for results had gotten her so far, it was nice to see how she also possessed an inherent sense of empathy. Flynn was similarly looking out for his own 'kind' and a rebel, yet when the two came together and cooperated they both found parts of themselves which they didn't know existed. While the first book in this trilogy did have more of a heavy focus on the romance, in this one that element takes a back seat for the most part, while the action and new developments in the thrilling events which unfold are the focus.

Our brief time together, the extraordinary circumstances that made us allies - there aren't any words to give it shape. He could tell me he loves me, but he doesn't know me the way a lover would; he knows the shape of me, though, the curve of my heart, as I know his. 

As you can tell from the synopsis, This Shattered World isn't about Lilac and Tarver's story. However, even though the overall concept of this book is a lot different, we still get to see little glimpses into what has become of those two. I'm not going to give anything away here, but I was glad to have some insight into their lives at this point, and even thought their role in the story itself wasn't groundbreaking, it did provide a sense of continuity which tied the two books together. There are also other links to be found where the secrets which came to the surface in book one about LaRoux Industries that will keep you on the edge of your seat, which further enhanced my enjoyment of the novel. 


Fans of These Broken Stars are sure to love this stellar sequel that is sure to be another big hit in the YA sci-fi world. These two very talented authors have created a story that incorporates the perfect balance of action, mystery and intrigue, leaving me even more excited for the final book in the trilogy.

What inspired you to come up with the initial concept for this stellar series?

Meg and I have both been huge fans of science fiction all our lives—she grew up watching Star Trek with her dad, and I grew up devouring Jules Verne novels. We’re both huuuuge space nerds, too, so when we started playing with ideas for stories we’d like to tell, we ended up with a shipwreck story set in space. From there, we asked ourselves who’d be the most interesting characters to strand together (read: who would hate each other the most) and the story and our universe grew from there!

What's the best thing about co-writing a novel?

The best thing by far is that you’ve always got somebody right there by your side—if I’m stuck, Meg’s not! You have someone to brainstorm with, someone to celebrate with, someone to dig your way out of plot holes with, you name it!

Do any of your own personal traits come through in Jubilee, Flynn or any of the other characters?

There’s a little bit of me in every character in the book, but the part of me that’s most woven through This Shattered World is the Irish influences. My mum’s Irish, and I majored in Irish history at uni. You’ll find smatterings of Irish language, Irish names, and a retold Irish legend at one point in the book!

Without giving too much away, is there a favourite moment or quote in particular that you'd like to share from This Shattered World?

Oh gosh, so hard to pick! I really like the explosions, and I like the kissing bits, and I like the murky, swampy world of Avon. There’s one line Meg wrote that you’ll find in one of the interstitials, that’s my favourite. In These Broken Stars the interstitials showed Tarver being interviewed. In This Shattered World, you’ll have to wait and see and deduce for yourselves what they are. The line is beautiful partly because of its context, but I also think it’s gorgeous and poetic. It reads: “But this time the green-eyed boy takes her hand, and when she opens her eyes, the sky is full of stars.”

I also really love another line Meg wrote, which basically sums up Jubilee perfectly: “He’s chiselled, with a chin so perfect, it makes me want to hit it.”

What's some advice to other aspiring authors who want to write something as amazing as what you have?

One piece of advice that made a big difference to me—and is particularly apt because I’m writing this during NaNoWriMo—is that if you want to get anywhere, you have to finish your draft. There’s no point having a perfectly polished first chapter, and nothing else! Be brave enough to push through to the end of your first draft and just let it be bad. Then, once you have the whole story, you can see the shape of it. That’s when you’ll know what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to cut, which will make sure you’re polishing the right things!

As authors, you must be big readers as well - what are some of your favourites at the moment?

I’m definitely a big reader, and I’ve always got something on the go. Recent books I’ve loved include Marie Lu’s The Young Elites, Will Kostakis’s The First Third and Ellie Marney’s Every Breath. Right now I’m reading The Walled City by Ryan Graudin.

Can you give us just a little bit of a sneak peek about what you're currently working on, or what the third book in the trilogy will be about?

Right now Meg and I are working on the third book in the trilogy, and I can reveal that it’s set on the planet Corinth – the most important planet in the galaxy, or as Tarver calls it, ‘the brightest of all the bright lights’. I’m also finishing up proofing the designs for Illuminae, which is the first in my new series with Jay Kristoff, which will be starting next year. Very busy, but lots of fun!

Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Thursday, 20 November 2014

18284908These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Released: 10th December 2013
Series: Starbound #1
Published by: Allen and Unwin 
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Source: Bought
Pages: 374
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Bookworld | Book Depository
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets to the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they're worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

 Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other's arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder - would they be better off staying in this place forever? Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step.

Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won't be the same people who landed on it. The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.
For a long time I had been seeing raving reviews for These Broken Stars, praising what could be the next big thing in the genre of YA Science Fiction. I had this book sitting on my shelf for so long, and I am so glad that now I have finally read it and have the sequel at my fingertips to once again delve into Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner's fantastic talent in creating a survival story set in space with an added mystery to truly captivate us readers as an audience.

It's not until he's out of sight that I let my eyes close, tipping my head against the tree at my back, imagining I can feel the gentle glow of the stars on my cheeks.

At the beginning, These Broken Stars may read like an interstellar version of The Titanic, but the tragic tale of the Icarus soon turns into a story of survival where the two very different characters of Lilac LaRoux and military hero Tarver Merendsen must learn how to live with each other and discover how to live on a newly terraformed planet where there is more to it than what first meets the eye.

But who names a starship the Icarus? What kind of man possess that much hubris, that he dares it to fall?

One particular aspect of the structure which I found interesting was the inclusion of interview segments in between both Tarver and Lilac's alternate perspective. This of course does contribute to your overall knowledge of the plot and its ultimate direction, however the bouts of sarcasm and witty comments on Tarver's behalf added to my enjoyment of the story. While it may have seemed slow in some places because it does solely focus on Tarver and Lilac's journey on the planet they crashed on, there were certainly some fascinating developments which I didn't see coming. In many ways in fact, because there were only two characters in this book for the vast majority, it made it even more obvious to see how they developed and changed as people in the midst of a crisis. Their bond that developed out of a difficult situation is one that I supported, although I suppose to say 'I ship them' in this case would be a tad ironic.

For a moment the image before us is frozen: our world, our lives, reduced to a handful broken stars half lost in uncharted space. Then it's gone, the view swallowed by the hyperspace winds streaming past, blue-green auroras wiping the after-images away.
Until all that's left is us.

It is undeniable that this book has some fantastic moments and wonderful prose. Many of the ideas conveyed in the story around surviving in an unfamiliar environment and finding hope in the most unlikely of places are quite conventional. What gave These Broken Stars that extra punch was the psychological aspect which was explored and played a much greater role in the novel than what I anticipated. The mystery surrounding the 'whispers' are a constant entity which made the pages fly by as I wanted to see what was going to happen next. There are shocks, and twists to be found, and while the ending may not have answered the entirety of my burning questions - I still found this book very enjoyable.


These Broken Stars certainly didn't disappoint and I can't wait to read This Shattered World. Even though the sequel has a different character focus, if it's anything like this one I'm probably going to love it anyway!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Conspiracy of Us

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where the participants tell their readers about an upcoming release they are waiting to read. This week I've picked The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall. 

To fight her destiny as the missing heir to a powerful and dangerous secret society, sixteen-year-old Avery West must solve an ancient puzzle in a deadly race across Europe. Forbidden love and code-breaking, masked balls and explosions, destiny and dark secrets collide in this romantic thriller, in the vein of a YA DaVinci Code. 

Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada at the Champs-Elysees when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. They are part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle of Twelve, and Avery is their missing heir. If they discover who she is, some of them will want to use her as a pawn. Some will want her dead.

To thwart their plans, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the landmarks of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul and through a web of ancient legends and lies. And unless she can stay one step ahead of beautiful, volatile Stellan, who knows she’s more than she seems, and can decide whether to trust mysterious, magnetic Jack, she may be doomed after all.

I'm definitely intrigued by this one - it sounds like it has a good mystery and solid romance. I don't think I've read anything like this before so I look forward to hopefully reading it when it comes out. 

Releasing 13th January 2015

Book Tag: Top Ten Books That Have Stayed With Me

Monday, 17 November 2014

Emily from The Loony Teen Writer tagged me for this post, so here are my top ten books that stayed with me.

The BFG by Roald Dahl


This book holds such dear memories for me. It was one of my first Roald Dahl books after 'Danny the Champion of the World' which I read when I was about nine, and I'll never forget this one. 

A Waltz for Matilda by Jackie French


I've probably mentioned this book so many times before, but it still stands in the top spot as one of my absolute favourites. 

Slammed by Colleen Hoover


This book was so heartbreaking, yet heartwarming at the same time. It's a contemporary that's achingly emotional and so well-written.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


This is the first book I ever read on my e-reader, but aside from that Fitzgerald's lyrical prose and the story itself stuck with me. 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 


This is another classic I've read and loved, and I'm hoping Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is as good!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusack


I cried my eyes out in this one, and its beautiful writing and moving storyline is one I will never forget. 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling


It was love at first page with this one. 

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith


I just really loved the setting in this one and how it is a story of self-discovery and coming of age. 

Genesis by Lara Morgan


This is the first book in my absolute favourite YA sci-fi series and I've already re-read it a few times.

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott


Megan Abbott is so talented when it comes to writing these darker stories with an undercurrent that is hard to miss. This is one that stuck with me because it's such a poignant insight into what teenagers can be like. 

I tag:

What are some books that have stayed with you?