April 3, 2014

March Wrap Up

I had a great month in March! I haven't read so many books in one month in such a long time! Not to mention the amazing books I received - don't worry, I am still abiding by my ban :P


*****


Reviews
The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth (now also a written review)
- The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (video review)
- 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad



Additions to Reading Challenges
The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne - TBR Challenge
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides - Classics Challenge
The Alchemyst by Michael Scott - TBR Challenge
Beautiful Creatures: The Manga - Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge





Books Acquired:
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak



Books Read:
- The Little Android by Marissa Meyer
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
- Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
- The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne
- The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
- 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad
- The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
- Beautiful Creatures: The Manga by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
- Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
- Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
- Crash & Burn by Michael Hassan


/In Progress/
- Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
- Transcendence by Shay Savage
- Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm


April TBR:
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
- House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
- No and Me by Delphine De Vigan

March 29, 2014

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad


172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad
Released: April 17th 2012
Pages: 355
Source: Purchased
Buy it: The Book Depository (Free Shipping)

It's been decades since anyone set foot on the moon. Now three ordinary teenagers, the winners of NASA's unprecedented, worldwide lottery, are about to become the first young people in space--and change their lives forever.

Mia, from Norway, hopes this will be her punk band's ticket to fame and fortune.
Midori believes it's her way out of her restrained life in Japan.
Antoine, from France, just wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as possible.

It's the opportunity of a lifetime, but little do the teenagers know that something sinister is waiting for them on the desolate surface of the moon. And in the black vacuum of space... no one is coming to save them.

In this chilling adventure set in the most brutal landscape known to man, highly acclaimed Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad creates a vivid and frightening world of possibilities we can only hope never come true.



The Short
172 Hours on the Moon is super creepy yet engrossing. The mystery and the suspense kept me wanting to know what terrors lie in wait on the moon, and I couldn't put this book down. When you find out the truth, it is certainly not what you were expecting.

The Long
This book completely sucks you in, whenever I picked it up I couldn't stop reading. The first portion of the book - prior to the moon, is a little slower in pace. However, I loved getting to know the characters. and you still witness some odd occurrences throughout the beginning that peaks interest. It was really interesting having photographs and diagrams scattered throughout the book aswell, they helped create a more visually vivid understanding of things both on Earth and the moon.

There's a very interesting cast of characters, a lot of them are so ambiguous and I aroused my curiosity. You don't always know if they are necessarily good, as so many are keeping secrets. Each of the teens - Midori, Antoine and Mia, were nicely fleshed out at the start. They were each so diverse and brought something to the table, though I found that I didn't develop much of a connection with any of them.

I was particularly intrigued by the old man suffering from dementia, who we see a few times in the first part of the book. I loved stumbling across his chapters and trying to decipher what was going on in his head. He only provides a clue to the overall puzzle, but seeing his reactions to the new NASA mission was terrifying and really heightened the suspense.

There was a slight romantic aspect evident, but I felt it was a little unnecessary. There wasn't any room for it to be nicely developed as time skips ahead at some points, so it was a little flat. It certainly made things interesting later on, but overall I wasn't a huge fan.

The ending. The resolution. The truth. I am so conflicted!
My guesses as to what could possibly be happening on the moon were no where near the truth, but the discovery left me a little unsatisfied. It didn't make complete sense to me, and I still have so many questions about the last couple of chapters. However, I did like how it was quite open-ended, leaving you a little creeped out even after closing the book.... and even a few days later. I loved how the horrific elements played out until the very last page!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed 172 Hours on the Moon! It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, but I loved how easy and fun (though quite scary) this book was. Though I may now have a slight fear of the moon....


March 24, 2014

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides


The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Released: March 19th 1993
Pages: 249
Source: Purchased
Buy it: The Book Depository (Free Shipping)

The shocking thing about the five Lisbon sisters was how nearly normal they seemed when their mother let them out for the one and only date of their lives. Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshipped them and who now recall their shared adolescence: the brassiere draped over a crucifix belonging to the promiscuous Lux; the sisters' breathtaking appearance on the night of the dance; and the sultry, sleepy street across which they watched a family disintegrate and fragile lives disappear.


The Short
The Virgin Suicides is beautiful, it is poignant, it is unique. Such a superb writing style which keeps you intrigued even when you know how this story is going to end, and not a lot happens leading up to it. You can't help but want to know the why, how and when, and this keeps you flipping those pages until the very end.

The Long




March 22, 2014

The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth


The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth
Released: November 7th 2013
Pages: 224
Source: Publisher
Buy it: The Book Depository (Free Shipping)

In an age unhealthily obsessed with substance, this is a book on the importance of pure style.

From classic poetry to pop lyrics and from the King James Bible to advertising slogans, Mark Forsyth explains the secrets that make a phrase - such as ‘Tiger, tiger, burning bright’ or ‘To be or not to be’ - memorable.

In his inimitably entertaining and witty style he takes apart famous lines and shows how you too can write like Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde. Whether you’re aiming for literary immortality or just an unforgettable one-liner, The Elements of Eloquence proves that you don't need to have anything to say - you simply need to say it well.



The Short
The Elements of Eloquence is a cleverly crafted book about the English language, that both amuses and enlightens. Forsyth's writing is witty and humorous, and I loved that he often implemented the language techniques he was describing and discussing. In addition to these aspects, creating such fluidity between the chapters makes this a really interesting read that many readers and writers could appreciate and learn from.



The Long
I apologise for mispronouncing "Forsyth" XD




March 13, 2014

Vampire Academy Giveaway Package!




It has been a really long time since I have spotlighted a giveaway here on the blog. I think it's about time to do it again, and I have something really exciting to share with you fellow Australians!

I just recently saw the Vampire Academy movie, the recent adaptation of one of my FAVOURITE book series!  I did a review here on the blog for the last book in the series, Last Sacrifice, which you can check out if you'd like! Spoiler alert: it's my favourite book of the entire series! (Also keep in mind that the review will spoil some of the earlier books, so be cautioned). Keep your eyes peeled for a review of the movie, too!

These books are just fantastic, and I'll be honest - I didn't love the movie as much as I adore the books - the bar is raised really high.  But even still, I thought it was really entertaining and funny! I think everyone that adores the books should check it out. I hope that the sequels end up being filmed, as I have no doubt they would get better and better!


THE GIVEAWAY:

So getting down to business, I wanted to share with you this giveaway that Bookworld is hosting, as I want more people to experience the wonderful world created by Richelle Mead. Bookworld is an Australian online bookseller (p.s. they have free shipping on everything) and they are giving away an awesome prize pack. It includes a signed Vampire Academy book package by Richelle Mead, AND tickets for you and 9 friends to go and see the movie!

If you are a fan of either the book or film, or have just been interested in giving them a try, then you should totally enter (even if you don't win, I recommend checking them out).

Plus, it is really easy to enter:


Just keep in mind that the competition closes 11:59pm Wednesday 19th March and is open to Australian residents only!

Go forth, my friends! You are welcome ;)

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