Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy for Books. I found this while browsing blogs and thought this was a great way to meet bloggers that love books as much as I do.

This week's question: Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?

Sometimes I do. Sometimes I wish I called it something a bit more serious, but then I think, where would the fun be with that? I hate trying to think of names, and it took me so long to think of Justified Lunacy. I have no idea what I would call it if I were to change it.
So, what about you? Do you like the name you've called your blog? If you don't, what else would you name it?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Crowded Hat Rack

In life, do you sometimes feel stretched to the limits and that there's not enough hours in the day to get everything done? Well, that's exactly how I'm feeling at the moment. I really need to petition to get the extra hour in the day... I'm actually losing 1 hour each day (stupid day light savings) so I really need that extra hour.

Today my uni started back up and I'm studying 3 courses externally. I'm mainly doing this because I'm at a high school teaching 3 English classes for 2 more weeks and can't get to uni to actually attend classes. This isn't usually a big problem, but I live on the border of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia, and Queensland doesn't have day light savings. So, while I'm at school I've got to get up an hour earlier and leave at 6:30 to get to school. This is making me incredibly tired by the end of the day.

I did try working one night, but by the time it got to 10 p.m. I was a zombie... luckily work hasn't been busy.

I'm sure I'm not the only one that has to find time to wear "many hats" that are required in the day. I'm terrible with organisation, but I finally realised that having a big calendar sitting in front of me while I'm at the computer is an excellent reminder of anything that's due.

Colour coding is also a great way to keep track of all the obligations. Having each "hat" in a different colour will be easier to see what sort of task or area the obligation is from. I need one for work, teaching, uni, family and even my critique group.

So, how do you manage with the different roles and obligations you have in your life? Do you find it easy to prioritise or get everything done on time?

Review: The Marbury Lens

The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury. 

There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them.

Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind.

Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay. But, it’s not. 

Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and our minds.

When Jack escapes from a deranged man's house after being kidnapped, the only person he tells is his best friend, Connor. Since he is going to England, he doesn't see the need in telling any one else. Jack leaves for England, a couple of days before Connor, and he meets a strange man who says he knows him from a world called Marbury. He gives Jack a pair of glasses, which when he puts on takes him to the world of Marbury where there is a great war going on.

The more Jack visits Marbury, the more he's losing touch with reality, but he can't stop himself from returning. Andrew Smith has created a story that questions what is real and what is just an effect of trauma.

The story is told through Jack's eyes and intermediately the reader is drawn into his world and his experience as he's tied to a bed in Freddie's house. As the novel progresses and Jack questions what is reality and what is just an after effect of the kidnapping, the emotions are portrayed exceptionally well, which made me wanting to read on to find out what was happening to Jack.

Both worlds, the real world and the world of Marbury, have been vividly painted and it's easy to imagine what they look like and how the characters feel towards each of the world's.

The Marbury Lens is a pageturning rollercoaster, that will keep any reader on the edge of the seat. Andrew Smith has created a wonderful story that delves into a nightmarish world and explores the effects that trauma can have on a person.

Recommend: I haven't read anything like this before. I would recommend to anyone who likes dark and thrilling stories.
2011 YA Reading Challenge: #9 of 50

Monday, February 21, 2011

How do you get your books?

There has been a lot of news about the trouble book stores are in on the television at the moment. I don't know whether it's coincidence, but the day after Borders in the US announces they are in trouble, the Borders stores in Australia (as well as our other big book store, Angus and Robertson) announces that they are also in trouble.

They are blaming online book stores and e-readers are the main problems for people not buying enough books. And, I can see why. I was so happy when a 2-level Borders opened up just around the corner from me, but that excitement is wearing off because most of the books in there cost $20-$30 or more... most of the ones I want are on the upper price.

Since I can't live without my books, I really have to start looking at the prices. In a supermarket the books are around $10 (not as big a range as Borders, but still cheaper).

At the moment most of my books come from :
  • Netgalley... I don't mind reading on my computer
  • Kindle... I read on my iPhone, so I have a book wherever I am
  • ... what would I do without audio books? I can drive while reading, that's fantastic
  • Amazon... here's a fact; it costs less to ship a book from the US to Australia than it does to buy a book in Borders. I also follow a lot of international authors who's books don't release here quick enough.
  • Book depository... I just started shopping here. Free worldwide delivery, there's nothing wrong with that.
  • Australian supermarkets (mainly BigW... think Target)... when I really need a book and it's on special for $10.
So, I can definitely see that I do a majority of my shopping overseas. But, in all honesty, there are some books that I can't wait the additional year for it to be released over here that I just need to.

Where do you mainly get your books from?

Thursday, February 17, 2011


What is NaNoEdMo? Well, it's where a crazy person agrees to spend 50 hours in one month editing a novel.

Why would I want to do something like that? Because I got some feedback about the ending of the novel I've been working on, and after a page full of notes about what's "NOT" working, I realised that I need to seriously fix it before I can start submitting.

So, do you have anything that you need to get done or have been putting off?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: John Belushi is Dead

John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles

Synopsis (From Goodreads): IN THE END WE ALL FADE TO BLACK. 

Pink-haired Hilda and oddball loner Benji are not your typical teenagers. Instead of going to parties or hanging out at the mall, they comb the city streets and suburban culs-de-sac of Los Angeles for sites of celebrity murder and suicide. Bound by their interest in the macabre, Hilda and Benji neglect their schoolwork and their social lives in favor of prowling the most notorious crime scenes in Hollywood history and collecting odd mementos of celebrity death.

Hilda and Benji’s morbid pastime takes an unexpected turn when they meet Hank, the elderly, reclusive tenant of a dilapidated Echo Park apartment where a silent movie star once stabbed himself to death with a pair of scissors. Hilda feels a strange connection with Hank and comes to care deeply for her paranoid new friend as they watch old movies together and chat the sweltering afternoons away. But when Hank’s downstairs neighbor Jake, a handsome screenwriter, inserts himself into the equation and begins to hint at Hank’s terrible secrets, Hilda must decide what it is she’s come to Echo Park searching for . . . and whether her fascination with death is worth missing out on life.

Hilda has always felt a bit odd. Together with her best friend, Benji, they prowl the sites where celebrities have died, sometimes taking away a piece of history to remember it. When one apartment they come across has an old man living there, Hilda and Hank form a bizarre friendship. When Hank's downstairs neighbour, Jake, brings himself into the equation, Hilda starts to discover that Hank is hiding a dark secret. As Hilda's new relationships grow, she starts to question whether her fascination with death is making her miss out on life.

I did not know what I was getting myself into when I opened the first page of John Belushi is Dead, but I was not disappointed. From the first page, the reader is introduced to Hilda and her macabre friend, Benji. The two have a bizarre fascination with the dead - especially dead celebrities. All the characters are well thought out and believable, which made some parts of the story gut-wrenchingly realistic. I loved Hilda (and her pink hair) and the journey she took throughout the novel was full of enough twists and turns to keep me reading.

The premise of this story is unique, and even though some of the scenes were confronting and graphic, I couldn't put it down. Besides the melancholic tones, there's also the subtle romance that blooms between Hilda and Jake. His introduction to the story turned the whole plot upside down, which is a good thing because I was never able to see where it was going.

This is an emotional story which will appeal to anyone with the slightest bit of morbid curiosity, or anyone who has ever been interested in a death of a celebrity.

Recommend: Girl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe
2011 Aussie YA Reading Challenge: #1 of 12
2011 YA Reading Challenge: #8 of 50

The Liar Society Giveaway

Jill over at Jill Scribbles is giving away an arc of Lisa and Laura's novel, The Liar Society. For those that don't know what this book is about, here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Kate Lowry didn't think dead best friends could send e-mails. But when she gets an e-mail from Grace, she’s not so sure.

Sent: Sun 9/14 11:59 PM
Subject: (no subject)

I'm here…
sort of.
Find Cameron.
He knows.
I shouldn't be writing.
Don't tell.
They'll hurt you.

Now Kate has no choice but to prove once and for all that Grace’s death was more than just a tragic accident. But secrets haunt the halls of her elite private school. Secrets people will do anything to protect. Even if it means getting rid of the girl trying to solve a murder...

This is a book I definitely can't wait until it gets released.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy for Books. I found this while browsing blogs and thought this was a great way to meet bloggers that love books as much as I do.

This week's question: "Tell us about one of your posts from this week and give us a link so we can read it (review or otherwise)!"

This week I did a review for Courtney Allison Moulton's YA debut Angelfire. It's the story of a girl finding out she's actually an old soul that gets reborn and is the only one with the power of Angelfire so that she can fight the Reapers. It is a fantastic angel story, and different from a lot out there at the moment.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review: Angelfire

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Synopsis (From Goodreads): This debut, the first novel in a trilogy, is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action.

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once.

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember.

Ellie has been plagued by nightmares for nearly all her life. She never thought they were anything until a mysterious boy, Will, shows up, claiming that she's the preliator, an ancient soul who is reborn each life with the mission of fighting the reapers. She's the only one who can wield the swords of angelfire.

When her powers awaken she must try to balance school and her friends with her reaper-hunting duties. When Will discovers that a powerful reaper, Bastian, is after a creature that once awakened could destroy Ellie's soul, she is forced to remember the secrets of her past lives and choose between her destiny and her heart.

Angelfire was an interesting twist on the angel genre and Moulton has created a vivid world with realistic characters. Ellie was a true but-kicking heroine who was still scared of disappointing her family and friends. Will, the oh-so-hot Guardian, would do anything to protect Ellie, while feeling guilty over his feelings for her. It wasn't just the two main characters that had personalities. Even the minor cast were all fleshed out and played a role in the bigger picture, even the creepy Reapers had their own personality.

The story was unique with enough twists and turns to keep me reading, with an even bigger twist at the end. It was fun watching the relationship grow between Ellie and Will while they were slicing through the Reapers. I look forward to when the next one comes out to see more of Ellie's story.

Recommend: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
2011 Debut Author Challenge: #4 of 20
2011 YA Reading Challenge: #7 of 50

Monday, February 7, 2011

It Was a Dark and Stormy Blogfest

Ok, Brenda Drake is hosting a first line blogfest today and tomorrow. Be sure to check out her blog for a list of participants!

So, what needs to happen? Here I will post my first line and I'm asking for any and all suggestions (be honest, I'm a big girl, if necessary) so I can post it to Brenda's blog at the end of the blogfest.

What’s up for grabs? A query critique, a 25 pages + query critique, and a 50 pages + query critique by none other than Weronika Janczuk, writer and agent with D4EO Lit Agency!

Now, for my entry:
  • Working Title: SHADOW EMBRACED
  • Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
  • First line: Her blows come quick and hard, knocking me back into the fleshy wall of the crowd. 
Best of luck everyone!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy for Books. I found this while browsing blogs and thought this was a great way to meet bloggers that love books as much as I do.

This week's question: What are you reading now and why are you reading it?

I'm currently reading John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles. Why? Because it sounded like an interesting story just from the title and to learn that it's about teenagers who's obssessed with dead celebrities... that just sounded unique. I'm not disappointed, it's fantastic at the moment.

So, what are you currently reading?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'm back... I think

The internet is a wondrous thing. When my modem crashed, apart from Windows sending me to the internet to diagnose internet connection problems, I was also told by a technician that I had to download an update for my modem (you guessed it, from the internet)... go figure.

But, that's not the fun part of my night. I carry a prepaid mobile broadband stick for such emergencies, which I needed to recharge because I hadn't been using it much... I was told that in order to recharge it to a different card than I had originally purchased it on I was required to send them 100 points of ID to top up... which at 9 pm, made it extremely hard.

I was lucky that my modem came back online for just long enough to download the update... so, now I'm back online (and hoping that it will remain that way because I was starting to suffer from withdrawals from the internet).

So, what have I been doing in the past weeks:
  • Finished editing my novel after getting some valuable information from my beta about the ending.
  • Entered it in the ABNA.
  • Started work on a new idea... time travelling PI's

What has everyone been up to lately?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Internet woes

What would life be like without the Internet? Nothing could be done.

My Internet is currently out of order and I can't seem to do anything. It doesn't help that I've got a uni assignment that is reliant on the internet and I've got my critique group to participate in (also needing internet).

It's funny that while trying to fix this problem, I was pointed toward the Internet... You can't do anything without it...

I'll hopefully get this resolved and be back shortly.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Autumn Ct,Mudgeeraba,Australia

Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Her Lullaby kit by Irene Alexeeva