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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

And we have a winner!

Hey guys! Sorry I'm a day late revealing the winner. Things got in the way - B-day parties, getting ready for a short trip, you know, life. Anywho, thanks all for entering. And the winner is.....


Winner will be contacted shortly.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Raw Blue Giveaway!!!

Goodreads summary:

Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly cafĂ©. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing … and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago at schoolies week.

And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break, fresh out of jail. When Ryan learns the truth, Carly has to decide. Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?

Pre-script: Stay with me folks, this is sort of a review, but I promise there WILL be a contest at the end!

I have a really hard time talking about books that I love. I know that sounds strange because it's the books I love that I really want to promote. Yet, there always seems to be this paradox. I can pinpoint exactly what is wrong with a book when I don't like it, but when I do like it, I always end up just saying things like AMAZING!! READ IT!!! and giving the actual reason of WHY I love it is very hard. I feel like I'm imprecise with my words and can't do the book justice. This is why I've put off reviewing Raw Blue for so long. I've had a hard time finding the right words to describe it. I've loaned this book to numerous people, mentioned it in a dozen places and voted for it on many "best of" lists. But actually writing the review has been impossible. So many others have done it better.

I was first introduced to this book by my good friend, Nomes over at Inkcrush. Her review here captured much of what I wanted to say:
It has this languid, quietly intense pace which you sit back in the pocket, holding your breath. I was only a fifth in when I was startled to discover that Carly had gotten under my skin in a way that a literary character hasn't for a very long time. I was crazily invested in her and felt all ripped up and torn inside-out as the novel progressed. I so wanted her to be okay.

My other good friend, Dana also managed to organize her thoughts in such a way that left me wondering how I could say it any better:

The characters are as vividly drawn as the setting. Carly, the MC, is closed and defensive, which could have been a stumbling block for readers to get to know her. But Eagar manages to do a wonderful job of showing us who Carly is slowly and deftly, from her work in the kitchen where she goes the extra mile despite it being a dead-end job, to her dispassionate noticing of her colleague who is starving herself…we get a picture of Carly loud and clear.
If only I could muster up the adjectives and adverbs like they did.

The thing is that I could go on and on about the wonderful prose in this book, the atmosphere, the vivid descriptions of the ocean. The surfing. *sigh* The surfing. Never surfed in my life, but this book makes me want to. Okay, I would drown, but do you see the love here? Yes, all of these things about Raw Blue contribute to what makes it so special, but none of these things is what made me love this book so hard. Rather, it was the character. Carly's character and how I connected to her. To be clear, I have never been in Carly's situation. I have never been that lonely, and I have never had my sense of trust knocked down so violently that I couldn't find it again. But I still felt a real connection to Carly. She just wanted to be normal. Not in the sense that she wanted to be like everyone else, but in the sense that she wanted to just walk up to a person and say hi or flirt with a guy like every other normal girl does. She wanted to not be afraid. As an extreme introvert, I can relate to that. My own experiences are not in the same league as Carly's. I feel foolish even comparing them, but I think maybe because of my personality I was able to easily put myself in her shoes, afraid to trust, afraid of getting hurt. Watching Carly tackle her fears was something I found inspiration from.

The praise for Raw Blue has been tremendous. It won the 2010 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Young Adult fiction and was short listed for the 2010 Gold Inky Award. If these awards don't sound familiar to you, well, that's because they're Australian, mate! Yes, Raw Blue was published several years ago in Australia and has only now become available in the UK. Sadly (sniff sniff), it's still not available in the US. However, since there's a wonderful little online store called The Book Depository, I have decided to give away a copy of Raw Blue!!! It even has a new cover design (though honestly I will always see Carly as a brunette).

To enter the contest just leave a comment with your name and email address so I can get a hold of you. If you've entered my contests before, you'll know that I hate making people jump through hoops, therefore, only one entry per person. BUT if you give me a tweet, I promise to love you forever. Contest is good to wherever The Book Depository ships and will end on July 30th (US).

Monday, July 2, 2012

Books of June

Got a little over excited with some revisions early on in the month and I didn't get quite as much reading done as I had hoped. But here are my books of June. Anyone read some of these? What were your thoughts?

45.  Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler ** I really liked the use of second person in this one. The MC seemed more than a bit naive, but I still liked her enough to feel really bad by the end of it. Kind of wanted to strangle Ed though. Also I'm not sure about the form of the book. It was all in glossy print, which felt way overdone to me and the art kind of reminded me of Andy Warhol, which unfortunately I'm not a fan of. So, take that as you may...
46. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour** For those who want a comparison, no, this book wasn't as good as Hold Still, but I did enjoy it. I really liked that youthful feeling it had, and the MC, I just wanted to snuggle up to him and say, hey you deserve better than this! Nina LaCour is definitely still one of my favorite YA contemp authors, for sure.
47. Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin** Dark and haunting is the best way to describe Masque, Bethany Griffin's retelling of Poe's short story. Some of the images really made me shiver and the world building rocked. There were times when my stomach was clenching, kind of the same feeling I got watching the movie Outbreak. BG really knows how to build tension and then raise it another notch just for fun. Also I was surprised by how much I loved both love interests and couldn't really decide which to root for. Can't wait for the sequel.

48. Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer* A bit disappointing. I had read the first chapter a while back and was kind of, shall we say, not impressed by Cala's actions? But I wanted to finish the series off, and so I put my revulsion for her cheating heart aside and read the final book. I enjoyed the set-up and how they had to go on these sort of "quests" in these dangerous places. That felt a bit Harry Potter-ish, but with a definite more YA vibe, but I didn't really enjoy that she felt she had to give EVERYONE a love interest. I expected what was going to happen at the end, so wasn't really surprised, but it still felt like a cop-out to me. Like I said, overall a bit disappointing, but I'm glad that I finished off the series.
49. The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith The beginning - whoa. The middle - eh? The ending - WTF??? I can't really recommend this one unless you happen to be a big fan of alternate worlds in the vein of Stephen King's The Gunslinger/Dark Tower series.I read those about a decade ago and honestly didn't get past the third one. So if you like those and you like endings that don't really leave you with a sense of closure then you might like it.

50.The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg* Cute, but predictable. Instead of a survivor going through the stages of grief, here we have the dead girl going through the stages of grief. Parts of it felt predictable, but the ending really kind of threw me for a loop. Also a bit too much with the eighties references. Really, I love the eighties, I grew up in the eighties, but it just didn't feel right when there were these references being thrown at me every other page. There was definitely some author intrusion there.

51. Insurgent by Veronica Roth** LOVE the sequel to Divergent. Halfway through I was predicting what the ending was going to reveal, and once that was confirmed, the first book actually made a lot more sense to me. I liked the way VR portrayed Tris going through her grief and how that affected the way she handled things. And of course I loved Four even more than I did before. Eagerly awaiting the third book.

52. Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi** I think part of my feelings about this one stem from the fact that I plotted something similar out a couple months ago, and so a lot of what was happening really clicked for me. I loved the contrast between the two worlds, and I really loved the descriptions of the sky and how the title fit in. Character-wise, I think Aria's transition was a little too fast and a little too... predictable? As in VR couldn't resist but give her MC some kick-ass special powers too. As for Perry, the earlier descriptions of him left me wanting, but then later he grew on me, and IDK, his dreads were forgotten after awhile or something. In the end I really liked him (despite the ew-factor when he describes how Aria suddenly smells better to him when she menstruates). Planning to read the sequel.

Also, but did you notice that it's now July and I'm at 50+ books for the year?? I think I might just blow past my reading goal of 75 books. Might as well bump it up to 100. :)



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