Top Ten Tuesday – 37. Books Recently Added To My TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish (click on the picture to visit their blog). A new Top Ten list is posted every week for fellow bloggers to participate in.

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ANNETTE

  1. The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis – I loved loved loved The First Third so I’m very excited for this upcoming release!!
  2. Cloudwish by Fiona Wood – I am ashamed to say that of her books, I’ve only read Six Impossible Things and Rachel keeps telling me that I need to read Wildlife and Cloudwish.  I will get there… one day
  3. Bro by Helen Chebatte – Found out about this one at the ‘The Year Ahead’ event at the State Library in December last year and I am super excited to read it
  4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – This one just seems to keep popping up so I thought: ‘why the hell not’, ya know?
  5. You Don’t Even Know by Sue Lawson – I legitimately do not remember putting this on my list…

RACHEL

So I decided to cheat a little and pick 5 books from the last 50-ish books I put on my to-read shelf on Goodreads. As I have a lazy 790 books on that shelf now, I figure it’s no biggie… And if it is a biggie… well, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want. 🙂

  1. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty – I started the much-loved Jessica Darling series last year and recently chucked the rest of them on my TBR because I really want to continue it, if only to find out whether or not Marcus Flutie decides to get dreadlocks again. I bloody well hope not because no, you silly ginger white boy. Just NO.
  2. Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom – I saw this one in Dymocks around Christmas time and the tells-you-nothing blurb had me intrigued straight way. I even nearly broke my book buying ban for it, but compromised with myself by putting it on my TBR. The front cover incorporates Braille lettering (MC is blind) so I thought that was really cool.
  3. The Stars At Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard – I LOVE the title of this one. Annette and I heard about it at The Year Ahead event and I’m really looking forward to it. And it’s launching at Readings Hawthorn on Sat 6/2/16 so I reckon I might go!
  4. Where The Streets Had A Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah – Of the books on my list, this is the only one I actually own. I picked it up second hand at the Clunes Booktown festival *cough* nearly two years ago *cough*. I’m determined to read it this year as I’ve been meaning to read SOMETHING of Randa Abdel-Fattah’s for ages… and I thought a good way to help that along would be to put it on my TBR on GR? I dunno.
  5. Notes From The Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell – My last unread Simmone Howell book that, for some reason, I only recently put on my TBR. I thought I had at least two years ago but ah well, it’s there now, eh? Looking forward to getting to this one sometime this year too.

Top Ten Tuesday – 36. Best Books I’ve Read In 2015

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish (click on the picture to visit their blog). A new Top Ten list is posted every week for fellow bloggers to participate in.

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ANNETTE

I apologise in advance for the wit and content you’re about to not read, I’ve had a couple of micro sleeps while trying to write this.  All I will say is that 2015 has been a year of fabulous reads so it was hard to narrow down the list. In no particular order:

  1. In The Skin Of A Monster by Kathryn Barker
  2. Still Waters by Ash Parsons
  3. An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
  4. The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn
  5. What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

RACHEL

Okay, I’m cheating a little here by listing my faves from the second half of the year only because I can’t narrow it down to just 5 (I’ve got 6 as it is) if I include all the books I’ve read in 2015 as thankfully, I’ve read so many good ones! I’m also doing something a little different here; rather than coming up with something to say, for each of my picks I’m showing you a screenshot of me talking about it on Twitter! In no particular order:

  1. Pieces Of Sky by Trinity Doyle
  2. Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
  3. Cloudwish by Fiona Wood
  4. Still Waters by Ash Parsons (I made Annette read it)
  5. Far From You by Tess Sharpe
  6. Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell

Shout out also to In The Skin Of A Monster by Kathryn Barker, Mr Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham, Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar (search it on Twitter and you will come across a days worth of capslock tweets from me and THEN some) plus my picks for the first half of the year: Pointe by Brandy Colbert (READ IT READ IT READ IT), How To Build A House by Dana Reinhardt, If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan, The Flywheel by Erin Gough and You’re The Kind Of Girl I Write Songs About by Daniel Herborn

POSTMAHACSF

CW SW

FFY EB

Top Ten Tuesday – 35. FREEBIE: Authors That Deserve More Recognition

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish (click on the picture to visit their blog). A new Top Ten list is posted every week for fellow bloggers to participate in.

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ANNETTE

I’ve decided to choose all Australian YA authors because; 1. they are amazing 2. they don’t get nearly enough worldwide credit and 3. more Aussie authors means more book locations to travel.

1. John Marsden (the Tomorrow Series, the Ellie Chronicles, etc) – This may seem strange to any Aussies reading this because John Marsden is so well known here, but apparently he’s not the international sensation that I think he should be.  He’s written something like 65 books and is one of the most well-known YA authors in Australia. I mean, HE WROTE THE ‘TOMORROW SERIES’ PEOPLE.  Yet I’ve spoken to several non-Aussies who don’t know who he is.  Granted, it’s not a huge sample size to base this judgement on but whatever…he should be a household name okay. The guy is a bloody genius.

2. Claire Zorn (The Sky So Heavy and The Protected) – This is probably bad of me to say given that I have only read her debut. BUT. It was awesome.  It was great to read an end-of-the-world book set in a country with strict gun laws.  It changes the whole game.  I feel like Claire Zorn doesn’t have enough Australian recognition, let alone international.

3. Vikki Wakefield (All I Ever Wanted and Friday Brown) (Inbetween Days out this month!) – Vikki is like, Melina Marchetta level of brilliance.  Why is she not on the New York Times Bestseller list? (I assume she isn’t/hasn’t been but I did zero research on this).  Guys…fuck.  You need to read her books. They will crush your heart and you will love it.  (And Vikki, if you ever read this, I just want you to know that I have, on 2 occasions, been in your presence and I know I have come across as rude or weird or something but it’s just that I’m socially awkward and you’re you and I couldn’t even…)

4. Melina Marchetta (ALL THE BOOKS THAT ARE AMAZING) – Okay so Melina is on pretty much every list I ever make ever, but dude…why don’t people know her name?  She should be one of those authors that everyone just knows.  Even non-readers.  Half of Australia studied Looking For Alibrandi and they don’t know her name when I say it.  That is BLASPHEMOUS.

5. Melissa Keil (Life In Outer Space and The Incredible Adventures Of Cinnamon Girl) – Melissa’s books are adorable and they have GREAT covers and they are just SO CUTE but also really awesome and not fluff reads.  Her debut was only 2 years ago and she’s already become this well-known superstar (with fantastic hair) in the YA book loving community and I just think that the knowledge of her existence should be more widespread.

RACHEL

  1. Brandy Colbert (Pointe)
  2. Laura Buzo (Good Oil and Holier Than Thou)
  3. Kirsty Eagar (Raw Blue, Saltwater Vampires and Night Beach) (Summer Skin coming Feb 2016!!)
  4. Alyssa Brugman (Finding Grace, Alex As Well, etc)
  5. Hannah Harrington (Saving June and Speechless)

Okay so first I need to say that while obviously I think these authors are underrated and I wish they were more well known, I’m not entirely sure if that is completely accurate in the wider scheme of things.

But anyway. Here is some of my ideas on why more people aren’t yelling their names from the rooftops, like I sometimes feel like doing but don’t because what if I fall?

  1. Alyssa, Kirsty and Laura are Australian so that doesn’t help their chances straight off the bat because even though they might be well known in Australia, chances are they’re not overseas.
  2. Laura and Hannah each last published a book in 2012 and I haven’t heard any news of any upcoming books from either, and in fact, I haven’t heard any news of them at all as Hannah isn’t active on either her website/Twitter and Laura doesn’t even have a website/Twitter (as far as I know).
  3. Brandy is a 2014 debut author.

All of these authors have produced books that I love a lot and I wish I had more people in my life that liked to read so I could force their books on them. Instead, I have this post. If you are reading this and are currently after something to read – give one of these authors a go. Please and thank you.

Honourable mentions go to Eli Glasman (The Boy’s Own Manuel To Being A Proper Jew) and Ash Parsons (Still Waters)

Top Ten Tuesday – 34. Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015

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 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish (click on the picture to visit their blog). A new Top Ten list is posted every week for fellow bloggers to participate in.

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ANNETTE

1. Whisper by Chrissie Keighery – I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  This was a ‘Rachel is a book pusher’ recommendation so I hadn’t read the blurb and I based my expectations on the cover.  I expected it to be some sort of fantasy novel and was tentative about starting it, but it was nothing like I expected.  Heart-warming, honest and Aussie, what more could you want?

2. The Boy’s Own Manual To Being A Proper Jew by Eli GlasmanEli Glasman is keeping the momentum of Amazing Aussie Authors going with his brilliant debut.  The Boy’s Own Manual To Being A Proper Jew is, quite frankly, fucking great.  Someone tell me he’s bringing out another book soon?

3. Every Move by Ellie Marney – The feels from this book are less of the ‘my heart has been ripped out of my chest while it’s still beating’ and more of the ‘fanning myself because HOT DAMN!’.  As if Mycroft wasn’t enough to make you swoon, Ellie just screws with your head by letting you get to know Harris Derwent.  All I can say is; the school dance scene – my oh my.

4. The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn – So this is my fourth Aussie book on my list…that was not intentional, I swear.  I loved The Sky So Heavy because it was post-apocalyptic but set in Australia, so limited guns which makes it more interesting.  I also loved that the characters didn’t suddenly become these kick arse hero’s with fighting abilities, they were just regular people.  Another debut, another author I can’t wait to read more from.

5. What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton – This has been my favourite read of the year so far and is almost, almost, a 5 star (I’d have to re-read to be sure).  Wow.  Just… just read it.

RACHEL

1. Pointe by Brandy Colbert – I’ve read at least one book every year since 2013 that has completely and utterly wrecked me, stomped all over my heart and head, left me with a book hangover for days after finishing. Pointe was my 2015 book. I read it in Jan and it’s still holding number one position for Favourite Read Of 2015. I won’t say anything else other than READ IT. READ IT NOW.

2. How To Build A House by Dana Reinhardt – This one was a real surprise. I bought it in the Boxing Day sale that Book Outlet had last year. Thought the blurb sounded interesting so I chucked it in my cart and I’m really glad I did. Was a 4 star read for me, and I don’t give out 4 (or 5) stars often. Perfect for the Quiet YA hashtag that pops up every now and again on Twitter.

3. If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan – Alright so IYCBM is up there with Pointe in terms of books that wreck you – especially because for a book that is quite easy to read and didn’t seem that long, it sure packs one hell of a punch. Although, you kind of get a sense it’s going to just by reading the blurb, but I finished it and I didn’t know what to do and my heart HURT. I actually met Sara Farizan at Reading Matters Public Day in May this year and I told her that while blathering on in my nervousness. She is SO lovely and I’ve got Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel on hold at the library so I can’t wait for it to come in and devour it.

4. The Flywheel by Erin Gough – I loved this book for a few reasons: 1. It featured a lesbian MC – LGBTQI characters, especially main ones, is something I feel we’re lacking in Oz YA unfortunately. 2. The numerous Marx Brothers references – I love love luuurve the Marx Brothers movies. Of the 10+ they made, there’s 6 of them that I used to watch over and over again with my Dad and brothers. 3. It’s a cute, sweet story that left me with all sorts of warm feels in my normally cold heart region.

5. You’re The Kind Of Girl I Write Songs About by Daniel Herborn – Books featuring music are my jam y’all. There’s nothing I love more than reading about how a character loves a song that I love (or really, even just a small mention of one has me shrieking – dude it could be playing in someone’s house that the MC is walking past and it still makes me beam). With YTKOGIWSA, it was Do You Realise by The Flaming Lips. I also very much appreciated the Bruce Springsteen love. And just as much as that, I related so strongly with Mandy’s feeling of being stuck cos I felt that too. And I still feel it, even though I’m nearly 25 now. Something you can experience at any stage of your life really.

Honourable mention goes out to Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell (I finally read it you guys wooo). And in case you were wanting to know, books I’ve read in the past two years that are on par with Pointe in terms of destroying me are Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield and Fault Line by Christa Desir.

Top Ten Tuesday – 33. Most Anticipated Releases For The Rest Of 2015

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 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish (click on the picture to visit their blog). A new Top Ten list is posted every week for fellow bloggers to participate in.

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ANNETTE

1. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – I love love love Eleanor and Park so I read Fangirl so I was very excited to hear that Rainbow was writing Carry On.  I need those blanks to be filled, dammit!

2. Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas – This first caught my eye because the cover is so pretty.  I don’t really know what to expect with the book, I feel like it has the potential to be really bad, but it also has the potential to be really good and that’s exciting!

3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I actually didn’t have this on my list until I started researching for this post and saw it on so many other people’s lists.  It peaked my interest and, for once, I want to read one of these highly anticipated novels the year it’s published instead of my usual 4 years late.

4. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (just released) – Technically this is already out so it sort of doesn’t belong in this post but, well, it’s my blog and you can leave if you don’t like it (please don’t leave).  I just feel like this book is going to push so many limits and what’s not to like about that?

5. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – Rachel and I saw Amie Kaufman at the Reading Matters public day this year and let me tell you, she’s a pretty cool chick and basically that’s all the prompting I need to read someone’s book.

RACHEL

1. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy –  I own and quite liked her debut, Side Effects May Vary, and I’ve been so excited for this one ever since I heard about it. A book about a fat girl who loves herself and massively puts herself out there to show others not to be afraid to as well? Hell yeah!

2. Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian – Interesting synopsis, beautiful cover and I so enjoyed how her previous two books have not been afraid to go there when it comes to sex in YA, so yep, definitely on this list.

3. Inbetween Days by Vikki Wakefield – If you haven’t read any Vikki Wakefield, I’m going to need you to before this October cos holy shit, NEW VIKKI WAKEFIELD FUCK YES.

4. Risk by Fleur Ferris – Of the books on my list, this one will be released first (July) and it sounds kinda terrifying, but definitely intriguing. Hurry up and get on my shelf!

5. Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy – I only found out about this one today and I really enjoy the way these two writers do romance so fairly sure a book co-written by them is going to explode with all the amazing.

Top Ten Tuesday – 32. Authors I REALLY want to meet

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 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish (click on the picture to visit their blog). A new Top Ten list is posted every week for fellow bloggers to participate in.

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ANNETTE

Shameless name drop; Rachel and I have met Melina Marchetta (twice) and Cath Crowley and Ellie Marney and and we hung out with Gayle Forman for a day so….life goals complete.  But if I want to be greedy, then another 5 authors I would figuratively die to meet are;

1. JOHN FRACKING GREEN OH MY GOD and I got so close, I flew halfway around the world to go to vidcon and then the line was so long that I couldn’t meet him and I almost crawled in a corner and died but I didn’t and instead I went to Disneyland.  *breath*

2. John Marsden

3. Enid Blyton

4. Melissa Keil

5. Trish Doller

But let’s be honest, I want to meet any author of any book I’ve ever read and liked ever.

RACHEL

Right so what happened when Ron Weasley saw Fleur Delacour for the first time is probably the best descriptor for what happens to me when I meet authors – ‘Ron went purple. He stared up at her, opened his mouth to reply, but nothing came out except a faint gurgling noise.’ But if there ever comes a time when I manage to get a handle on this, some of the authors I would love to meet are:

1. Courtney Summers – I don’t even know where to begin with Courtney Summers. Her books, her tweets, her tumblr – dude, she’s just a fantastic human being. Oh and she’s a Supernatural fan. So…

2. Hannah Harrington – Saving June is one of my all-time faves. I would love to meet the lady who wrote it, if only to thank her for those playlists. I can’t listen to California Love without thinking of Harper, Jake and Laney. On a really creepy (sorry) note, her hair is really pretty and I would like the opportunity to stare at it in real life.

3. Emily Rodda – I’m currently finishing up yet another reread of her MG/YA fantasy series – the Deltora Quest series 1, 2 and 3 – one of my childhood faves. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever tire of them, no matter how old I get. Fantasy fascinates me cos I can’t get over how authors create a whole other world. Impresses the hell out of me. And hey, Emily Rodda is an Aussie so meeting her may actually be achievable.

4. Roald Dahl – I dunno, does this one really need an explanation?

5. Vikki Wakefield – Okay I have technically already met Vikki, but only very briefly (on the same day we hung out with Gayle Forman) and I had only read Friday Brown about a month previously so I was still not okay and I can’t even remember if I said anything to her. I actually think I may have just stared in awe. Awkward.

I second Annette’s choices of Melissa Keil and Trish Doller. Honourable mentions to Simmone Howell and Steph Bowe.

Top Ten Tuesday – 31. Things I Like/Dislike About Romance In Books

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 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish (click on the picture to visit their blog). A new Top Ten list is posted every week for fellow bloggers to participate in.

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ANNETTE’S CHOICES

1. DISLIKE: dorky boy/girl meets popular boy/girl – Look, I can live without this particular cliché in my books.  I don’t dislike it in EVERY circumstance, but it gets old quickly and if it isn’t done right it can just turn me off a book completely.

2. LIKE: authors include sex – I don’t want this to come across the wrong way, I’m not like ‘put sex in all the things’ (that sounds so wrong), but I like it when it’s in a book when it should be.  Sex and physical intimacy are normal in many relationships, especially in older age brackets, so I appreciate when an author doesn’t shy away from this.  I also think it’s good to have it in Young Adult books in a safe and positive manner in order to demonstrate loving and respectful relationships.  I need to stop here because I could discuss this for eternity (well, at least 30 minutes at least)

3. DISLIKE: love triangles – Oh lord, spare me another love triangle.  It CAN be good sometimes, only sometimes but ergh, I cannot deal with this on a regular basis.

4. DISLIKE: back and forth relationships – I don’t mind reading books where there is obvious romantic connection between two characters and it doesn’t work out until the end, that doesn’t bother me. But I hate it when characters go back and forth between liking each other, not liking each other, being in love, wanting to kill the other person.  Best example I can think of is Jace and Clary in The Mortal Instruments.  I don’t want to give away spoilers but their relationship made me not complete that series (amongst other things)

5. LIKE: awkward relationship beginnings – I’m pretty much referring to Young Adult novels with my entire list, but none more so than this one.  I love it when authors write new couples as being awkward and inexperienced because it’s realistic.  It doesn’t give off this false idea that everyone knows what they are doing or how to react because, guess what, we don’t!  I would go so far as to say that the majority of people feel socially awkward, it’s just that some people are better at hiding it.

RACHEL’S CHOICES

1. DISLIKE: Sex as magical/transcendent – Alright look. Enjoy the shit out of it, love it, go at it all the time, BE ALL ABOUT THE SEX – I don’t care. Like, they can feel a connection. That’s fine. But when I’m reading the aftermath part of a couple doing the deed and one of them is internal monologue-ing about how they feel like a changed-man/woman-and-it’s-never-been-this-way-before-and-I-know-now-that-you-are-the-person-I’m-supposed-to-be-with, I just want to diiieeeeeeee. Stop it. Can’t it just be about having really great sex? You’re not boning an ethereal being. Good lord.

2. LIKE: sexual tension –  I live for the deliciousness that is sexual tension. Don’t even care if that sounds creepy. If you’re reading this, I recommend the Every series by Ellie Marney for an EXCELLENT YA example of some very well written deliciousness.

3. DISLIKE: cheating – You know, I get that it happens, and it happens a lot. But I can never really stomach it. Especially if it’s incredibly pointless/meaningless and goes on forever. I like it even less if the person he/she is cheating with knows too. I just want to yell at them, “Don’t take that shit! Think better of yourself and go find a single someone to get down with.”

4. LIKE: romance from childhood friendships – Oh man. These romances make me want to melt into a big puddle of mush. I luuuuuurrve these kind of romances. LOVE THEM. I think it all started when I read Summer Of Love by Wendy Loggia from this YA romance series called Love Stories, published by Bantam Books in the 90’s, which I read quite a few of when I was in my early teens. It’s the whole having years of history with someone and knowing them so well and it’s never a case of insta-love, which I haaaaate. *happy sigh*

5. DISLIKE: fixer-upper relationships – You know how it goes. One character is damaged somehow, but through knowing this one other character for a few months, he/she gets better, everything works out fine and dandy and everyone starts shitting unicorns and rainbows. Yeah nuh. Best relationship example I can think of which is the complete OPPOSITE of that is Will Trombal and Francesca Spinelli from Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta. Will is always there to help Frankie through when she’s having a tough time with her depression. He doesn’t “fix” anything, he’s just there for her. And that’s what those who struggle with depression need the most, really. But anyway. Having a love interest “fix” you is just bullshit. Books certainly don’t have to reflect reality all the time, but I happen to think that if you’re going to write a story like that, it should be true to real life.