July 7, 2014

The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss & GIVEAWAY (Aus)

I received this book for free from Bookworld in exchange for an honest review.

The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss
Series: n/a

Released: April 24th 2014
Pages: 320
Source: Bookworld
Buy it: The Book Depository | Book World
     - Both have free shipping worldwide

The world can tip at any moment…a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mom dies after giving birth to her baby sister, Rose.

Rose, who looks exactly like a baby rat, all pink, wrinkled, and writhing. This little Rat has destroyed everything, even ruined the wonderful relationship that Pearl had with her stepfather, the Rat’s biological father.

Mom, though…Mom’s dead but she can’t seem to leave. She keeps visiting Pearl. Smoking, cursing, guiding.

Told across the year following her mother’s death, Pearl’s story is full of bittersweet humor and heartbreaking honesty about how you deal with grief that cuts you to the bone, as she tries not only to come to terms with losing her mother, but also the fact that her sister—The Rat—is a constant reminder of why her mom is no longer around.

This is a wonderfully written debut novel that managed to portray a teenage Pearl's struggle with the death of her mother very realistically. The pace of this story is a little slow at times, and it didn't necessarily have a stand-out storyline. However, the writing, characterisation and shifting relationship dynamics between a variety of characters really drew me in.

Pearl's response to the loss of her mother was heartbreakingly real. Although some of her decisions aren't smart and she shut out a lot of important people in her life, I understood why she felt that she needed to do or say certain things. I really felt that her choices were a believable reaction when considering her mindset and emotional state, whether or not they were reasonable.

In terms of the romance, I liked that it was quite a minor and subtle element, it never threatened to overtake the main plot. I was a little confused as to where the attraction initially started, seeing as the first few occasions where Pearl and Finn met and communicated were full of awkwardness, a bit of attitude aaaaaand some vomit-stench.

Overall, a very touching read that explores the struggles of dealing with devastating loss and grief. And I'll admit, it made me tear up a little.

Now for the giveaway! I have two copies of this book and would like to give one away to one of you! If you would like to enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below, but first a few requirements:
- Must be an Australian resident
- Must be 18+ or 13+ with parental consent
- Winner will be contacted via email and must reply within 3 days or I will select a new winner
a Rafflecopter giveaway

July 4, 2014

June Wrap Up

Unfortunately, a relatively slow month in comparison to how I have been doing so far this year. I am still on track for all my reading goals, however, so I'm not disappointed :)


Rain by Amanda Sun

Additions to Reading Challenges

Books Acquired:
- These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
- The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss
- Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

Books Read:
- These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
- Rain by Amanda Sun
- The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss

/In Progress/
- Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm
Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke
- Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
- The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

April TBR:
- The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers
- Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

July 2, 2014

BookTube Week: Ask away!

Kaitlin over at YA, YA, and More YA is organising an event from July 7th-12th, called Booktube Week, which she has asked me to be a part of. The exciting this is that this also means that YOU can join in, too!

Essentially, all I need you to do is ask me some questions through twitter, by tweeting to Kaitlin: @imajarofhearts, with the hashtag #BTWLittleBookOwl and that is it! Some of the questions will be selected and forwarded to me for an interview that will be published over on YA, YA, and More YA during Booktube Week.

So if you have any questions for me, anything you'd like to know at all, then go ahead and tweet Kaitlin. Don't forget to use the hastag #BTWLittleBookOwl!

June 27, 2014

Rain by Amanda Sun

I received this book for free from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rain by Amanda Sun
Series: Paper Gods #2

Released: June 24th 2014
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
Buy it: The Book Depository | Book World
     - Both have free shipping worldwide

Caution: as a sequel, this review may include spoilers of the first book: Ink. If you would like to know my thoughts of Ink, watch this review.
American Katie Green has decided to stay in Japan. She's started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can't imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she's fallen in love with. But her return is not as simple as she thought. She's flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.

When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo's dark ancestry, as well as Katie's, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.

The Short
Rain was a wonderful sequel which continued to keep the beauty and rich Japanese culture, mythology and setting alive. The characters continued to develop and surprise, leaving you conflicted about who you thought you could trust. This book had a nice, calm pace with some intense moments leading up to the conclusion - though the section around the middle did drag slightly. I think this was a great sequel which some surprises towards the end which will definitely lead to an intense third book!

The Long
The main thing which I love about this series is how strong and present the Japanese elements are in this book. Although I have not read many books set in countries outside of the U.S.A. or England (excluding fantasy worlds), for the ones I do come across, I find that the setting and cultural differences are somewhat lacking. Amanda Sun certainly has no problems here and highlights the beauty of Japan so wonderfully. Furthermore, Katie's struggles with adjusting to the culture and abiding by the expected social behaviours were very realistic.

That being said, some of her other mistakes and decisions began to get a bit irritating. She isn't as forthcoming with Tomo about some of the things she did as she probably should have been. This kind of correlates to the love triangle that isn't really a love triangle... things never progress far enough, but outside sources kind of make it into some form of a pentagon... but not quite. It's a weird situation.

There was so much mystery surrounding some of the characters - you could never really pinpoint whether they were helping Katie or working against here. There were plenty of surprises along the way, and my opinions of a few of the characters have drastically changed! I'm really intrigued to see how the characters continue to progress, and I can't wait to see what happens in the next book!

June 4, 2014

May Wrap Up

Due to the two read-a-thon's I participated in, I managed to read a heck of a lot this month!


Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst (video review)

Additions to Reading Challenges
The Tenth City by Patrick Carman - TBR Challenge
The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti - Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge

Books Acquired:
- The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
- Saga Vol. 1, 2 & 3 by Brian K. Vaughan
- The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susan Cokal
- The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
- S. by J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst
- The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
- The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke
- Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
- The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti
- Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott
- Circle of Blood by David Mack

Books Read:
- Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
- Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
- Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate
- Infinite by Jodi Meadows
- Into the Mist by Patrick Carman
- Beyond the Valley of Thorns by Patrick Carman
- The Tenth City by Patrick Carman
- Allegiant by Veronica Roth
- Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare
- Unite Me by Tahereh Mafi
- Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
- The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
- City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
- The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- Legend by Marie Lu
- Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst
- Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

/In Progress/
- Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm
Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke
- Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

April TBR:
- The Percy Jackson & the Olympian Series by Rick Riordan
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
- The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers


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