18 Nov 2015

Hello fellow bloggers!
 Just letting you all know that WKRN is moving to a new home over on WordPress! All of my latest reviews have been posted over there and I'm currently in the process of moving all my older reviews over, as well.

17 Nov 2015

#TTT: Top 10 Quotes I Loved From the Books I've Read This Year

Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be." - Sabaa Tahir, An Ember in the Ashes

“Inej had once offered to teach him how to fall. "The trick is not getting knocked down," he'd told her with a laugh. "No, Kaz," she'd said, "the trick is in getting back up.”  - Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

“There was dishonour, she decided, in accepting someone else’s idea of honour without question.”- Marie Rutkoski, The Winner's Crime

"Pity those who don't feel anything at all." - Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Thorns and Roses

“I think you should be angry if you're angry. But it's also true that hate has a way of hurting you more than the person you're hating.”Stephanie Oakes, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

"Sometimes it seems like everyone knows who I am except me." Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

"Which is what one always hopes will happen: for life to take over and be bigger and more marvelous than what we can dream up on our own. Life doesn’t need magic to be magical." - Laini Taylor,  Night of Cake and Puppets

“War is not for winning, Masha," sighed Koschei, reading the tracks of supply lines, of pincer strategies, over her shoulder. "It is for surviving" - Catherynne M. Valente, Deathless

"If you know someone's fear, you know them." - Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“Our sacrifice is greater than his. Our boys give only themselves. We give them.” - L.M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside

3 Nov 2015

#TTT: Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward to Their Sophomore Novels

I haven't read a lot of debut authors whose work has immediately made me go, "WHOA, I'VE GOT TO PUT THEM ON MY AUTO-READ LIST!" If their debuts did make me have that reaction, it was most likely a trilogy that had me hooked. For this reason, I've only included six books for this week's Top Ten Tuesday. Not all are from 2015 (with so many YA authors knocking out a book or two a year, it's easy to forget that many authors take a lot longer to produce one novel), but all have left an impression on me.

The Sacred Lies of
Minnow Bly

by Stephanie Oakes

 The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is my favourite book of 2015, and it's definitely one that deserved more love than it got. It was such a surprise - I stumbled across it at my local QBD and picked it up on the blurb alone. It's a near perfect novel, and everything that I wanted from a novel. The characters are well-drawn and the book is well-plotted. If this is Oakes' debut novel, I cannot wait to see what her follow-up will be like.

Simon vs the Homo
Sapiens Agenda
Becky Albertalli

This book is so fluffy and adorable. I was squeeing throughout the entirety of it. It also took me back to my teenage years - sometimes when you get older, your relationships change and it's easier to let go than force it to work. This book captured that feeling of trying to hold onto that friendship and being unsure whether it would work. I appreciated that although this book did have a romance, it was Simon's friendships that were the real focal point of the story. Friendships are really something that's not featured enough in YA (how many times have you read a book and the protagonist - usually female - ignores all their friends in favour of their love interest? How frustrating is it?).

Red Queen by
Victoria Aveyard

Full disclosure: I'm excited for Red Queen because that ending. In all honesty, Red Queen was a bit hit and miss, but everything picked up steam during the last hundred pages or so and it got me really excited for what happens next. There are a lot of common YA tropes in this one, but there are also a lot of political plays and everything - right down to the love square - is strategic. Red Queen may be Aveyard's debut novel, but she's a solid writer and I cannot wait to see where she takes the trilogy next.

An Ember in the Ashes
by Sabaa Tahir

 This book went where few YA novels ever really do. It raised the stakes for its protagonists to the point where I actually wasn't sure whether or not they'd make it out of the book alive. The characters were nuanced - not always good, but not necessarily evil - and the book was able to evoke strong emotions in me. At one point I was feeling raw, blind hatred - anybody who has read the book can probably guess why - and I think that's the sign of a good book. Tahir produced a strong debut, and I can't wait to read not only her follow up to An Ember in the Ashes, but any and all of her future work.

The Strange and Beautiful
Sorrows of Ava Lavender

by Leslye Walton

 The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was actually released in 2014, and it's been stuck in my mind ever since. Like the title implies, this book is both beautiful and strange. Despite the story spanning across three generations in three hundred-ish pages, Walton manages to develop all of her characters and tell a wonderful story that doesn't leave the reader wanting. This book is filled with such whimsy and raw emotion, it is gorgeous and so, so haunting.

The Golem and the Djinni
by Helene Wecker

 The Golem and the Djinni is such a well-written, self-assured novel that it's hard to believe that it's Wecker's debut novel. I remember always being reluctant to put this book down, and constantly thinking about it when I did. The characters are wonderfully drawn, and you are able to feel their desperation to connect to those around them and questioning what it means to be human. Even the background characters are three-dimensional, and you can't help but marvel at all the work Wecker must have put into this novel. I cannot wait for her next novel!

 What are some debut authors that I'm missing from my list? Don't forget to comment below with your Top Ten so I can see some authors I'm missing!

27 Oct 2015

#TTT: Top Ten Books to Read Around Halloween

I have to start off by saying that Halloween isn't really a big deal in Australia, so I was kind of scratching my head over what to write. I remember reading Goosebumps as a child and being confused over what trick-or-treating and jack-o-lanterns were. I settled on picking some of my favourite gothic & horror novels:

8 Oct 2015

Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan

Release Date: 17th March 2015
Publisher: Penguin
Page Count: 256
Format: Paperback | Purchased

Add on GoodReads

Synopsis (from GR): This is the full script of Hold Me Closer, the musical written by and staring Tiny Cooper, from the novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, written by David Levithan and John Green. Filled with humour, pain, and 'big, lively, belty' musical numbers, readers will finally learn the full story of Tiny Cooper from his birth and childhood to his quest for love and his infamous eighteen ex-boyfriends.

My thoughts: HOLD ME CLOSER, TINY DAAAANCERRR! Surely I am not the only person who sings this song in their head whenever they hear the title. First things first: if you have not read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, then this book will probably not make any sense to you. Even though it is only a companion novel, it basically assumes that you've read the novel and know the events of WG, WG. This book spoke to me on a spiritual level - so many times I've picked up an American novel and been confused by any reference to the American education system (let's not talk about how long it took me to work out what 'middle school' and 'junior high' high), sports, or... pretty much anything. A book that references Bernadette Peters and Idina Menzel is my kind of book. 

Hold Me Closer was a totally new, totally unique reading experience. I read this in the space of about two hours - it's written as the libretto to a (incredibly badly-written) musical, so it is quite a quick read. The stage directions were where Tiny's personality really shone through. At points they literally had me laughing out loud, at others they hadn't me feeling all the feelings. It's the story of a boy who so desperately wants to be loved and find some self-worth. It's also a little snapshot into living a life where everybody already has preconceived notions about who you are and who you should be. It's gorgeous and joyous and wonderful. 

My only complaint is that it's hard to pin down the time period for this - WG, WG was published a few years ago, yet this contains 2015 pop cultures references. Clearly Tiny is not still sixteen and in high school.

Finally: it's really difficult reading a musical in book form and not knowing how the songs should sound (I found myself making up a tune to sing for pretty much every song). I need someone to get this on the stage already!


6 Oct 2015

#TTT: Top Ten Books I Haven't Finished Recently

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's prompt is:
Ten Bookish Things I Want to Quit Or Have Quit (aka ten book series I think I'm going to abandon, ten bookish habits I want to quit, ten authors I quit reading, ten types of books I'm quitting, ten tropes I want to stop reading about, ten books I marked as DNF (did not finish) recently, etc. Get as creative as you want)
I am the Queen of buying books and then leaving them on my shelf to collect dust, or beginning to read books and taking months to finish them, so I figured for this week's prompt it would be a good idea to pick ten books I haven't gotten around to finishing.

Don't forget to comment below with some of the books you haven't gotten around to finishing!

16 Sep 2015

Brain Soup Goes Gilmore: The Wizard of Oz

Brain Soup Goes Gilmore is back, hurrah! Dayeanne and Felicity skipped June to revamp the book club, but somehow a month-long break turned into a three month break (and I started wondering whether it was gone for good). They've done a lot of stuff to make the BSGG more interactive and flexible for members, which is interesting. This time around, they picked a few books that were mentioned in the show and allowed club members to pick a book (or a few books) to read. As it has been awhile, they started off with something simple - children's literature! I was quite excited by this option, because children's lit can be quite whimsical and off-beat. While I am familiar with the general narrative of most of the stories on the list, I had only read one of this month's options, and ultimately decided to go with something I hadn't read before. The options for this month were:

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Babe
  • The Little Match Girl
  • Judy Blume (any book by her, as she's referenced multiple times in the show)
  • Rapunzel
  • Snow White & Red Rose
  • The Scarecrow of Oz
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Stuart Little
  • Bambi

I was tossing up between The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, but ultimately went with the former because I've never read it, even though I've had the Puffin Chalk edition sitting on my shelf for awhile now (but also because it's Alice in Wonderland's 150th anniversary in November, so I'm planning on saving my reread for then).  This one was, as presumably intended (by Daye and Felicity), a quick read - I read it in one sitting. Having grown up watching the film adaptation multiple times, I actually had low expectations going in. However, the film had changed more than I expected, so there were enough differences to keep me interested. The book is actually episodic, with Dorothy & co. encountering a new person or obstacle to overcome in each chapter. Rather than being an ever-present threat as she is in the film, the Wicked Witch of the West is introduced and killed off in a single chapter. I also finally found out why Glinda didn't just tell Dorothy how the shoes worked when they first met in the film - because she was filling the role of two characters (please believe me when I say that it has been bugging me for years). The books is charming, funny, and witty and I imagine would be enjoyed by children of all ages - it makes me sad I didn't get to visit this book in my childhood.
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