1. Bowen Lakes Secondary – LiOS

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‘I have never been a fan of Bowen Lakes Secondary. If my life were a screenplay, BLS is nothing more than the slug line above the first scene…’ – pg 5

Oh look, another photo of a street sign! Sorry, but we are trying to collect them all, like Pokemon. Sadly, Bowen Lakes Secondary doesn’t actually exist, but our reliable source (i.e. the one and only Melissa Keil) informed us that it was named after Bowen Crescent in Brunswick. I think it could easily be a street that a high school would be located on, busy-ish but not too busy-ish, if ya know what I’m sayin’, but really, there isn’t anything remarkable to tell about this location. The street sign pole is pretty short, if you find that kind of thing interesting? Also, I considered climbing it but I didn’t because pole climbing is haaaard, man.

– Annette

Life In Outer Space – Our Thoughts

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Annette

I know you’re not MEANT to judge a book by its cover, but let’s be honest here, we all do it, which is totally fine when it’s Life In Outer Space because the story is even more adorable than the cover.  Seriously, how effing cute is it?  I just want to frame the book and hang it on my bedroom wall because it’s so darn pretty, but then I’d want to read it all the time and I wouldn’t read anything else and I’d fail at my Goodreads challenge and it would be this whole thing.

So, wanna know what I love about this book? Of course you do, that’s why you’re here!

1. The language and dialogue is funny and young and on point.

minions laughingI’ve seen LIOS recommended to fans of Rainbow Rowel and John Green and I can see why.  These authors do have that language ‘thing’ down.  You know that thing?  I can’t explain it, but…you know.  However, dare I say it; I think it’s more authentic in LIOS.  *Gasp* *Shock* *Horror* yes I did just say that.  But seriously, y’all need to get on the Australian YA authors because they absolutely nail it and don’t get the recognition they deserve.

2. There’s so much nerdy fandom stuff in it, it’s great!!

nerd laugh

It reminds me of high school (I pictured good old Croydon S.C. the entire time I was reading it) because I was one of those ‘un-ironically enthusiastic about stuff’ people and, you know, high school was maybe not the best time for our kind but we kill it in the real world.

3. Those ship feelings. ‘nuff said. 

ship feelings

4. It’s Australian

straya

I mean…this is pretty obvious because that’s why we’re touring it but still…it is very ‘Melbourne-y’ and there’s a kind of road-trip-not-really-but-they-do-visit-cool-places-over-a-period-of-days.  I just like that it’s Australian, not ‘Strayan if ya know what I mean.

5. ALL THE FEELS

all the feels

It’s a fun read with a bit of romance, but it’s not fluffy or un-important, it still deals with important stuff and it has good characters and the structure is awesome and it has funny chapter titles and it makes you feel all the things and it’s just GOOD.

Rachel

Life In Outer Space was one of those books that I’d-read-about-was-really-excited-for-hurry-up-release-date, then completely forgot about until I saw it sitting on the shelf in Dymocks. I was actually shopping with Annette at the time and we decided to treat ourselves to one book each (although let’s be real, I was going to buy it anyway). I started it a few days after buying it and ended up devouring it in one day. I loved it. It is a sweet, adorable and ridiculously charming story. It’s not often I read a book that made me laugh and smile as hard as this one did. And it was refreshing to read something that wasn’t too deep and didn’t leave me wrecked with sad feels for days after (not that I don’t love that), or worse; a book that fell short of my expectations and made me feel like I wasted my time on. I’ve re-read it twice since then and it makes me happy, you know? Just really happy.

Set in Melbourne, the story follows our MC Sam Kinnison, Star Wars + horror movie fanatic, and his small group of fellow geeks as they navigate their way through their penultimate year of high school. Sam is happy enough with the status quo, until new girl Camilla Carter walks into the IT office and turns his world upside-down.

I loved Sam’s voice. Melissa Keil hit the nail on the head with a perfect blend of humour and wit, and Sam’s confusion over how the effortlessly cool Camilla was changing things for himself and his misfit friends was very entertaining to read. She is just what Sam needs to shake him awake from his ordinary existence.

I also fell in love with stoic Mike, idiotic Adrian and quirky Allison just as much as Sam and Camilla.

‘Mike is beside me, expressionless and silent, as is his MO in any public setting. With his brown hair and brown clothes, Mike blends in to most backgrounds. I’m half-expecting him to develop the ability to change skin colour as well, like a cuttlefish.’

‘Adrian appears beside me, glaring down the corridor. He has his about-to-open-a-can-of-whoop-arse face on. Objectively, Adrian Radley has zero cans of whoop-arse to open.’

‘On my other side, Allison Winfield is doodling on her loose-leaf with a chewed on Hello Kitty pencil. She looks sideways at me and grimaces. She grimaces a lot. I don’t always understand why. But in spite of the Hello Kitty, I know that a habitual grimacer is one of my people.’

Some of my favourite parts:

– Sam’s method in his determination to get to the bottom of Mike’s ‘downward spiral’ (which is, of course, inspired by a movie) in the last quarter of the book. I was laughing my head off.

– The explanation of the Extremely Gay Weekend. Hahaha

– Sam and Camilla’s speeches to each other at the end of the book (yes, it’s such a movie cliche, but that’s precisely why it works in this book). Also I’m a sucker for declarations like that, not matter how unrealistic.

Life In Outer Space is everything you could want in a contemporary Aussie YA, so I hope you’ll give this book a go, if you haven’t already and hey, hope you have fun tome-travelling through the story with us!

Our Top Twenty One Favourite “Quotes” From Every Breath…

Okay, so I lied – we don’t have twenty one favourite quotes. We really only have one. The other 20 below that are quotes (with page numbers) that relate to instances where James Mycroft’s hair and eyes are mentioned. Our top 10 for each, because CURLY HAIR AND BLUE EYES AW YISSS. Also because we’re weird* like that.

‘Live or die. Every breath is a choice.’ – pg 72: this quote is derived from Chuck Palahniuk’s Survivor and where Ellie got her title for this wonderful book from (we think).

HAIR                                                                                                                         EYES

pg 1 – ‘… his crazy curls are the same as now…’

pg 7 – ‘… his blue eyes are luminous from the sunlight reflecting off…’

pg 3 – ‘… his dark hair anarchy as usual.’

pg 39 –‘Mycroft has his raw blue eyes fixed on mine.’  

pg 9 – ‘His curls are a dark jungle…’

pg 92 – ‘…his eyes are electric, intense.’

pg 16 – ‘… his hair looks particularly frightful.’

pg 106 – ‘Mycroft’s eyes are sparking, blue as the after-image of an X-ray flash.’

pg 110 – ‘… his dark hair corkscrewing every which way.’

pg 108 – ‘His eyes are electric blue maelstroms.’

pg 142 – ‘Even his hair looks slumped.’

pg 160 – ‘His eyes are the blue of a lightning storm.’

pg 206 – ‘He smiles, curls flopping over his forehead.’

pg 180 – ‘… his blue eyes swirling with dark matter.’

pg 238 – ‘A mop of dark-brown curls bobs over the top of a nearby easel.’

pg 200 – ‘… blue eyes intent and over-bright.’

pg 270 – ‘Back-breeze from the traffic blows curls into his face…’

pg 208 – ‘… his eyes have darkened to an intense blue.’

pg 324 – ‘… I put one hand on the arm of his hair and one hand where it’s always wanted to go – laced through his hair, his amazingly dark and curly hair. His soft locks twine through my fingers and I pull his face towards mine.’

pg 219 – ‘His eyes are a rich ultramarine, like the sea on a Hawaiian beach, the long dark lashes a vivid contrast.’

*fucking awesome

Every Breath – The Playlist

Firstly, Ellie has a playlist that she put together for Every Breath, which you can find below. It just so happens to have two of the songs we’ve included in our playlist, so great minds eh.

http://elliemarney.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/playlist-of-stars.html

Alright. Every Breath isn’t a book with a lot of musical references. Really, there is only one song that is actually mentioned (as well as a few references to bands/musicians). So, this playlist is split into 3 parts consisting of: 4 songs from Every Breath, 4 songs we heard/listened to on our 3 part book tour and 7 of our own picks! I hope you like it.

IN THE BOOK *only the artist is mentioned, so we chose the song

My Sharona by The Knack- Please raise your hand if this song now reminds you of James Mycroft.

Little Black Submarines by The Black Keys* – Annette chose this one as I only know two (now three) Black Keys songs.

The Nosebleed Section by Hilltop Hoods* – our fave Hilltop Hoods song so it’s naturally the one we chose for our playlist.

When Your Love Is Gone by Jimmy Barnes* – thanks to my Dad, I know a lot of Jimmy Barnes songs. Including this one because it is one of my faves.

ON THE TOUR

Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac – Remember when we stopped for lunch on that day we went gallivanting around the Royal Melbourne Zoo? Well, Gypsy was playing in the cafe we bought those ridiculously expensive and average tasting hot chips and hot dogs from (yeah woo, I looooooooove FM).

Manic Monday by The Bangles – I can’t exactly remember where we heard this song but I’m pretty sure it was also in the cafe.

Cosby Sweater by Hilltop Hoods – We stopped to grab some cold drinks at one point (also at RMZ) and this was the song pumping out from the vendor thingo. It’s kinda cool that we can include another HH song because I know Ellie is a big fan.

Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – Remember when we ate kebabs and got attacked by bees? Well, Over The Rainbow was drifting out from a shop nearby. Or it may have been a busker because it sounded acoustic-y and I couldn’t place the song initially. I picked this version for our playlist because it is super lovely.

OUR PICKS

Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty – I think this one is pretty obvious, no?

London Calling by The Clash – As above.

Electric Feel by MGMT – Yeah so I don’t know the meaning behind this song  but it’s on the list purely because the title directly relates to the way this book kills me with its sexual tension. Please see pgs 161-163 in particular but also 243-244, 272-273, 324-328, 332-334 (you’re welcome).

Bang A Gong (Get It On) by T-Rex – Again, including this song and using the title to be wildly blatant about my shippy feels.

Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones – I felt our playlist needed some Stones and I chose Paint It Black because it’s got a fast, thumping kind of beat that goes well with the pace of EB.

Private Universe by Crowded House – As a Rachel who is a CH fan, I’ve decided Rachel Watts is also a CH fan. Am I projecting? Probably. So be it then; this is my fave CH song.

Mess Is Mine by Vance Joy – This song accurately describes the relationship dynamic between Rachel and James. Also, Vance Joy has curly hair. What does that have to do with anything, you ask? Well… *runs away*

 

(Also posted on our playlists page).

Rachel’s Re-read Challenge Recap: October – December (Part 4/4)

Re-Read Challenge

Annnnnnnnnd here’s my re-reads from the last quarter of the year AKA when I got sidetracked by the Marchetta

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October – The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta and Life In Outer Space by Melissa Keil

November – Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

December – The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

Also re-read: On The Jellicoe Road and Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta, I Do and At First Sight by Elizabeth Chandler and Summer Love by Wendy Loggia

When I First Read: 2010, I think

What I Remember: I didn’t remember a whole lot of the story, just that I liked it a lot more than I expected to (Holes is one of my faves but I remember not really knowing what to expect as this was the first (and so far only) other book of his that I’ve read).

Why I Wanted To Re-read: Well, basically I wanted to see if I still liked it as much. I also wanted to see exactly what it was about it that I liked so much, because as much as I tried, I couldn’t remember.

How I Felt After Re-reading: A bit sad, because I didn’t like it as much the second time around. But I can narrow down the reason for that quite easily: okay, so the MC – Alton – is narrating the book, telling the story to the reader and because of this, there is a lot of passages explaining the card game Bridge to the reader (you can skip to a short summary explanation box at the end of these passages and read that instead if you can’t be bothered/don’t understand, which is really helpful). Despite this, I really struggled with it this time around – I know shit all about Bridge (and am quite happy knowing shit all about it) so I found the amount of Bridge talk harder to read through. In saying that, I did still enjoy the story – it’s sweet and unexpectedly sad.

Would I Re-read Again: Maybe, if some reason I one day become very interested in Bridge?

December – Saving June by Hannah Harrington

When I First Read: Sometime in the first half of 2011

What I Remember: I found out after I read it (or maybe I looked it up while I was reading it?) that apparently Saving June was released in Australia first, so that’s cool and stuff. I remember seeing it sitting on the shelf in Kmart/Target and I was attracted to the cover (the pretty one with the girl laying in the grass) and I like to impulse buy so naturally, I bought it. ANYWAY THIS ISN’T REALLY RELEVANT. It is one of my faves so I remembered it pretty well. I love the music in this book so much. Every time I hear California Love, I think of it. EVERY time.

Why I Wanted To Re-read: No real reason. I wanted to re-read both of her books, but this one ended up being the only one that I did re-read in 2015 (going to get to Speechless this year). This is my second re-read and I’m so glad I ended my reading year on a favourite.

How I Felt After Re-reading: In love all over again. Man, when is Hannah Harrington going to announce her next book? WHEN?

Would I Re-read Again: Yep

Every Breath – The Places We Couldn’t Go

For one reason or another, there are always places we can’t go when we do a book tour, sometimes because it’s a made up location, sometimes because time/cost/distance/the law interfere.  In any case, this really grinds my gears because it means I have an incomplete spreadsheet and this is something I really don’t need in my life.  Ellie was kind enough to give us very detailed answers to our barrage of questions about locations, so even though we couldn’t visit them, we learnt some pretty cool stuff;

  1. Five Mile – A made up town because of the content of the novel, Ellie (and I assume publishers?) didn’t want to give a real town a bad name.  However, she did tell us that if you travel up to the Mallee, and go to Ouyen and then take the turn off to Murrayville and drive for a while there are lots of little towns that fit the bill – Murrayville being a very close representation.  Fun fact: It was originally called Nine Mile but the name was changed at the last minute because there is an actual town called Nine Mile.
  2. North Coburg Secondary – An entirely made up location
  3. Grey’s House – Another made up location
  4. Homeless Shelter – We did a bit of research into this and we are pretty sure we found the correct information.  Apparently this shelter used to exist but was shut down for some reason.  Probably because we have a country run by moronic, unsympathetic, money hungry, corporate giant douche twats who make us look like a backwards country.
  5. Mutual Systems Incorporated – Ellie said this was an imagined location but we mentioned to her that I always pictured it where the portrait of the Indigenous child is on the building on Hosier Lane and Ellie said that was was kind of a perfect spot (huzzah!!)
  6. Hundertwasser School – I hope she doesn’t mind, but this is Ellie’s response to our question asking if this was based on LaTrobe near Melbourne Central – “No – but I used to date a boy who lived in a warehouse flat on the corner of Russell Street and Little bourke, right in the thick of things.  That was a beautiful space inside, once you made it up all the stairs.  The Hundertwasser School I sort of located in that funny corner of Spring St, right before it meets Victoria Parade – there are some old buildings there, one of which used to be an artist’s squat, I think (although again, those might have been revamped now).  I remember going there at 5 in the morning, while I was helping to make a short film with the VCE, and trying to wake up the guy inside on the second floor by throwing things at his window – he had all the film shoot lights stashed in the flat! (we never managed to rouse him)” – We interpreted this as the location being at Spring Street and Victoria Parade but the inside looking like that of the warehouse on Russell and Little Bourke.  We chose not to visit this location because it’s in a difficult place to drive to, we weren’t sure if it would still be there and weren’t entirely sure of what we were looking for.
  7. The Lion Enclosure – We did visit the lion enclosure but it has been re-vamped since the book was written so it looked different when we visited (which we only found out recently thanks to @nicolehasread)

– Annette

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

TTT3W

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.