30 Sep 2014

WRAP-UP: September 2014

The last couple of months have been pretty shitty reading-wise for me, so I was beyond excited when things started to pick up this month. Before I get to the actual books I read, I want to talk about some awesome other stuff.

Books I Bought This Month
NONE. I DID IT. AGAIN. Considering I bought about 20 or so books in August, I'm very happy to have bought none this month. I did, however, receive a copy of Belzhar from Simon & Schuster that I'm very excited for. I'm trying to keep myself of this book-buying ban until my birthday, which is just over a week away.

Other Things
Welllll, this is where it gets real exciting. The month was pretty chilled to start with, mainly because I was exhausted after Sydney but then things got exciting again! On the 19th, I went into the city to meet up with the lovely Ebony and we went to see Les Mis together- it was AMAZING. We also ate a lot of food and talked pretty much non-stop. I also got to see The Maze Runner this month, which was pretty good. But mostly excitingly, I got my subjects marked off for my semester abroad next year!!! I'm SO excited!



Books I Read This Month
Okay, now let's actually talk about the books I read this month. So for the last two months, I've only read 7 books but this month...I READ 15. (technically 16 if you count the photography book I 'read') 15. FIFTEEN. OMG. *cough* Those books are...


I also 'dabbled' in Heir of Fire, Wuthering Heights, World After and I just started The Sky is Everywhere yesterday for the #ReadEverywhere read-along. I've got an October TBR going up on Thursday so remember to check that out if you're interested!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you all had a good reading month too!

29 Sep 2014

GIVEAWAY: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson


You might already be aware that the lovely Ebony and I are hosting a readalong for The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson which starts today. If you want to know more, I'll link the announcement post I did here.

This post is just here for the giveaway. So onto details about that! The giveaway will be running from today- the 29th of September until the 7th of October (AEST), and we'll announce the winner in the discussion/review we will doing on the 7th. The giveaway is being run internationally, as long as the Book Depository ships to you. You can enter on either blog, but only one copy is being given away between the two of us. You don't have to be participating in the readalong to enter, but anyone who is caught cheating will be immediately disqualified. With all that being said...GOOD LUCK!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope to see some of you participating in the readalong this week :)


28 Sep 2014

Writing About Things That Matter



I’m going to start this post by saying that I think book blogging is very important. Even more than that, I love doing it and I love all the wonderful friends I’ve made through blogging (and for getting to share this amazing experience with the best friend/human being in the entire world). But lately, I’ve been struggling with the idea of writing about things that matter. I know it’s a stupid thing to worry about- who gets to decide what matters and what doesn’t?

The thing is…I really like reading other people’s blogs. I’d say that I spend a good couple of hours every day just reading through people’s posts, so as you can imagine I’ve come across some great posts. That’s where my problem lies- I read all these amazing posts and then I think to myself ‘wow, I wish I could write something like that’. I know how unhealthy that is and that I should be proud of my own posts, but damn, I get some serious blogger envy.

I’m sure there are posts or blogs that you wish you could write like. For me (this leads to the actual topic of this post), it’s generally blogs or posts that write about things that matter to me, that share their opinions about interesting things. For example, I consider myself to be a feminist and so I spend a lot of time reading about feminism in YA, movies, TV and whatever else. I want to be able to write things like that- to explain to you all how important I think strong female characters are, especially as role models. Then I spend all my time looking at these amazing blogs and suddenly I feel like I could never write that post how I want to. It causes serious blogger burnout, because then I feel like nothing I ever write is good enough.  That’s a suckish feeling. It’s a really, really suckish feeling. How do you stop feeling like that?

What I really want is to be able to write about whatever I want and feel like what I’ve written is worth reading, that it’s good content. I want to write meaningful posts for this blog, and I want to write posts for other blogs and take part in those ‘cool girl geek’ blogs that I spend so much time reading. Does anyone else ever feel like this?

So, the point of this post- other than for me to rant a little, is to basically convince myself to start writing whatever I want to write and to stop worrying about it so much. I can’t promise that what I get out there is going to be amazing, but I’d like to think that it'll help improve my writing and confidence.

If you read through that, then you’re seriously marvellous and you deserve all of the chocolate cake in the world. I don’t really know what else to say, other than thank you and I hope you’re all having a great week.


27 Sep 2014

Ely's Recommendations #6

Aaaaaand, I'm back with more recommendations! As usual, you can find the other parts of my endless recommendation series here- #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5.

1. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
This had been on my TBR for the longest time (ever since it came out and Chami bought herself a copy), then for Christmas last year Chami bought me my own copy. (Words cannot describe how excited I was when I unwrapped it.) Then recently, I just had this sudden urge to read it. I absolutely loved it- it was so quick and enjoyable and just ALL THE FEELS.

2. The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
I didn't think this would ever be my thing, but then my lovely friend Michelle talked out in one of her videos and suddenly I'd borrowed the book and was already 200 pages into it. This is a really fun read- it just made me really, really happy even though things have been kind of suckish lately. It's definitely a nice pick-me-up read.

3. On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
A few months ago now (I think), the wonderful Ebony read and reviewed this and ever since then I have been stalking every bookstore possible for a nice copy of this. Eventually, I caved and just borrowed it from the library but it was SO GOOD that now I need my own copy. This book is a little bit difficult to get into and follow along with, but it's totally worth pushing on with.

4. Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
This is one of those books that I've raved about to a couple of people already. It just completely destroyed me. Then I wrote this massive review about it.

5. Adorkable by Sarra Manning
I finished this book about an hour ago and it's the whole reason I wanted to do one of these posts. This was another one I picked up because of Michelle. It was just AMAZING. I went through literally every emotion while reading this book - from anger, to sadness, to happiness. It was just what I needed!

Let me know if you're going to pick any of these up, or if there are any books that you'd like to recommend to me! Hope you're all having a lovely weekend :)

26 Sep 2014

The GIF Book Tag

The always lovely Ebony of Daring Damsels tagged us to do the GIF Book Tag, so that's what we're doing today! Basically, the person who tags will give you a list of ten books, and you just need to find a GIF describing/showing how you feel about the books in question. Let's start!

1. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Ely:


Chami:
2. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Ely:


Chami:

3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Ely:

Chami:
4. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Ely: 

Chami:
5. On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Ely:

Chami:
6. The Selection by Kiera Cass
Ely:


Chami:
7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Ely:

Chami:
8. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Ely:


Chami: NOPE. NOPE. DON'T HAVE A GIF FOR THIS BECAUSE THERE IS NO GIF FOR THIS.
9. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Ely:

Chami:
10. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Ely:

Chami:


Who's terrible at noticing which people do which tags? WE ARE! (We apologise if you've already done this) But we're tagging...
Cait and Mime @ Notebook Sisters
Kate @ Fictional Thoughts
Val @ The Innocent Smiley
and Laura @ Laura Plus Books

Your books are...
1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
2. Legend by Marie Lu
3. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
6. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
8. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
9. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


25 Sep 2014

DISCUSSION: Reading Widely

I've noticed a lot of videos and articles about the topic of being 'well read' and what it means to read widely lately so I thought I'd put my own two cents in. For the purpose of this discussion, I'm defining 'well read' as reading in a variety genres and a variety of authors and writing styles.

I don't know if I'd define myself as well read. According to Goodreads, I've read 452 books which is only counting the ones I remember. By some people's standards- that's a lot, and by others it's not. I'm proud of that number, but I admit that probably about 95% of those books would be considered YA books. I'm not embarrassed by that at all- I love YA and I'm not ashamed of that. It's just recently I've realised that it's time to branch out a little.

I'm not going to stop reading YA (I still have about 400 unread YA books on my shelf to get through!), but I'd like to start exploring some other genres as well. Currently, outside of YA, I read a few classics and I read crime novels- like Agatha Christie, Ian Rankin and some others. I'd like to try some more classics and crime novels, but also some adult science fiction, fantasy and historical fiction. I'd like to look at more poetry, plays, short stories and essays that I wouldn't pick up normally. I've been slowly starting to do this. I visited a bookshop about a month ago now and left with five books- none of which were YA and I was very proud of myself. (Granted I haven't read any of them yet.) I know there are going to be some things that I'll never be interested in- I'm not a romance fan (including New Adult) and literary fiction doesn't really interest me either, but I'm willing to try pretty much anything else.

Now, there is an actual point to this post. Firstly, I want to know if I'm the only one who does this? You don't necessarily have to be YA obsessed like me, but is there a particular genre that you stick to? Secondly, and possibly most importantly- I want recommendations! I'll look into anything in the aforementioned genres (and Middle Grade) so share with me some of your favourite books.

Thank you for reading my little sort of rant thing there- I hope it actually makes sense to someone other than me. I hope you're all having a wonderful day and I will see you tomorrow with another post!

24 Sep 2014

The Sky is Everywhere Readalong! #ReadEverywhere


As you can guess from the title, I have some exciting news for you today! The lovely Ebony of Daring Damsels and I are hosting our first ever readalong. Obviously, our book is The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. (I've linked the Goodreads for you all, in case you don't know the book).

The readalong is running from Sunday the 29th of September until Monday the 6th of October. We'll mainly be discussing the book on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads (the links are all below). We're also doing a proper discussion/review of the book after the readalong has finished - that'll be up on the 7th!

Ebony:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ediebooklove
Instagram: http://instagram.com/ediebooklove
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/eoie

Me:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/elysiumjayne
Instagram: http://instagram.com/elyjayne
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ElysiumJayne

We'll also be hosting a Twitter chat on Friday the 3rd from 1pm-2pm (AEST), but feel free to tweet about the readalong (or at us) anytime using the #ReadEverywhere hashtag

Finally...the most exciting part of all. Ebony and I will be giveaway one copy of The Sky is Everywhere! So if you end up borrow the book from the library, or decide to give away to a friend or end up loving the book so much you NEED a second copy, this is your chance! The giveaway will be running from the 29th to the 7th and it will be international (as long as Book Depository ships to you), so make sure you get in quickly!

Anyway, I think that's it- I hope you'll join us for the readalong because we are completely, ridiculously excited for it! See you all next time xx


23 Sep 2014

Top Ten Books On My Spring To-Be-Read List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and you can find more about this meme here. This week is the top ten books on my Spring TBR. I don't really know how much reading I'm going to get done this Spring as next month I have my final exams, but here's my list anyway!

1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I'm pretty sure this was also on my Winter TBR...I just haven't gotten to it yet. It's reached that point where I really, really want to get this read just because I'm sick of constantly putting it on my TBR.

2. Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley
This is a really small one, so I reckon I could knock it off pretty quickly. Like Anna Karenina, it's also on my list of 14 books I wanted to read this year.

3. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
This is another one on that list. I read the first 300 pages or so earlier this year but I put it down for some reason. I'm going to try and get this done as soon as possible.

4. Amy and Matthew by Cammie McGovern
I bought this one at the Melbourne meet-up a few months back, and I've since heard that this is a little disappointing...I just want to get it read now.

5. The Enemy by Charlie Higson
I've been reading this one for MONTHS. I'm really enjoying the story, but I have to be in a certain mood to read it. Hopefully I can get it done this season.

6. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
I've been reading this for literally a year and a half. The thing is, when I'm actually actively reading it I'm really enjoying it and I'm getting through it quite quickly but then I put it down for something else...

7. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
I've had this one out from my Uni library for months now. Considering the year is almost over, I should probably read it and return it!

8. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
OKAY, CALM DOWN! This is a re-read for me but I really, really need some Etienne St Clair in my life right now.

9. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
No, I haven't read this one yet. Yes, I know how good it is. I'll get it read as soon as I can!

10. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Okay, so I don't actually expect to finish this one this Spring but I'd like to at least start it. If all goes to plan, I'd like to read the entire Lord of the Rings this summer.

So yep, that's it! I expect some of you to laugh at my ambitious goals...I know I am. Let me know which of these I should read first. Until next time...


22 Sep 2014

Cover Comparison - John Green

Today is a very, very special day- the incredibly lovely and wonderful, Ebony of Daring Damsels and I are back for another cover comparisons! If you haven't seen this before, it's exactly what it sounds like - Ebony and I picked out a bunch of different covers and then we compare them. As you've probably guessed by the title, today we're focusing on John Green. Over on Ebony's blog, we looked at Wuthering Heights covers so make you sure you check that out. Finally, if you'd like to see some other ones- we've already done Jane Eyre and The Diviners. Let's look at those covers!

1. Looking for Alaska - Australian/UK Edition
Ebony: I like the simplicity of the cover, and the colours chosen. Is the daisy a significance in the story? I can’t really remember...oops. However, if it is, which I’m fairly sure it is, then I like that it’s on the cover.
Ely: I don’t know if I actually like this one. On one hand, I really like the text and the colours but the daisy seems weird to me. What I mean is, I like it as a cover but I don’t know whether it really suits the story- it seems a little too happy to me.

 2. Looking for Alaska - American Paperback
Ely: This is the cover I have, and I don’t actually mind it. It’s definitely not my favourite cover of all time, but I think the sort of dark, mysterious feel that is has really reminds me of Alaska. I don’t know how I feel about the text though- I think that could have been done a lot better.
Ebony: I’ve never liked this cover. I don’t know why. It’s just boring. It feels too mature for the story.

3. Paper Towns - American Paperback
Ebony: I never used to like this cover, but after reading the book, it’s grown on me. It’s not my favourite edition of Paper Towns however.
Ely: This is the edition I own, and I personally like it. I seriously love maps and I love the little pin thing. I haven’t read this one, but from what I know of the book, the cover seems to make sense. I also really love the text- having the title look as if it’s actually written on the map looks spectacular. 

 4. Paper Towns - English Paperback
Ely: I both like and dislike this edition. I love the colours and the actual paper town (does Bloomsbury ever not put serious dedication into their covers?) I mean seriously, they added shadows to the text and the clouds! I suppose I actually like it more and more as I look at it, the only thing I’d change is the paper plane- it looks a little out of place to me. 
Ebony: I really like this cover, and it may be my favourite edition - I really like the Australian one though too. This one is very pretty, but it also looks a little busy with the pop-up effect title.
  
5. An Abundance of Katherines - Australian/UK edition
Ebony: Again, I like the simplicity of this cover, and how it matches the other Australian/UK editions of his books. I don’t understand why there’s a light bulb though? Maybe it would help if I read the novel…

Ely: I haven’t actually read this one yet so I can’t really comment on whether it fits the story or not. I like the red though- I think red books often stand out really nicely on bookshelves and in store. I like that the text is the same from TFiOS too.

 6. An Abundance of Katherines - American Paperback
Ely: I think this one is very cute. I absolutely love the little symbols, though I don’t know whether they are actually supposed to mean something to the story or not- they just look cute. I love the look of white books too- they just look so clean and fresh!
Ebony: This cover is okay. Again, the simplictiy pleases me, but overall, it’s rather mediocre.

 7. Will Grayson, Will Grayson - American Hardback
Ebony: I don’t like this cover at all. It’s just...what? It doesn’t really suit the story and it feels as though it’s just an enlarged stock image. Not a fan.
Ely: This one is alright. I don’t completely hate but I don’t love it either. I’m usually a fan of the lights and bokeh so I like how they used them here. I don’t know- it’s just alright.

 8. Will Grayson, Will Grayson - Australian/UK edition
Ely: I love this one! I love that purple/blue colour especially against the white and the yellow. I think it’s just a really nice and simple design.
Ebony: I really like this cover! I love the colours chosen and the fingerprints. 

9. Let It Snow - American Paperback
Ebony: This is...terrible. Boring. Too stock-image-y. Yuck. Definitely my least favourite out of the bunch.
Ely: I really, really don’t like this one. Sure, it makes me feel all Winter-y and Christmas-y inside but it’s nothing overly special. I do like the use of the Christmas colours – the green text, the red gloves, the white present and background, but that’s about it.

 10. Let It Snow - German edition
Ely: I know this one looks a little more Spring-like, at least it does to me, but I love these colours. I also have this obsession with trees or plants on covers apparently? It just looks incredibly beautiful to me. Though, that text…that definitely could have been done better.
Ebony: The colours chosen are so beautiful together - and I love the tree and the illustration in general. However, this doesn’t feel like a Winter book to me. It’s more Spring/Summer time.

 11. The Fault in Our Stars - Polish Paperback
Ebony: Eh. Not a huge fan of this cover. I like the watercolour paint effect, but the rest of the cover doesn’t do much for me. 
Ely: A lot of the foreign covers for TFiOS are the exact same as the US/UK editions, so it’s nice to see something a little bit different. I love watercolours on books- I think they’re the best things ever. I like that this one still sticks with the blue while still being different from the original.

 12. The Fault in Our Stars - 1st edition
Ely: I love this one simply because it is so iconic. The moment you see that shade of blue, you know exactly what the book is and I know, personally, it brings back all the FEELS which is both and good and a very bad thing. 
Ebony: I’ve always liked this cover. I like the simplicity and the fact that it’s so iconic. However, I’m sort of sick of looking at it…


 Final Thoughts
Ebony: Overall, my favourite cover would have to be the Australian edition of Looking for Alaska, with the Australian/UK edition of Will Grayson, Will Grayson edition coming second and the UK paperback edition of Paper Towns in third.
Ely: My favourite is the American paperback edition of Paper Towns, then the Australian/UK edition of Will Grayson, Will Grayson and finally, the American paperback of An Abudance of Katherines in third place.
 
 And that's it for this round of cover comparisons! Remember to go over to Ebony's blog to see us compare some Wuthering Heights covers.