30 June, 2011


Title: Ballad
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Fiction 
Series: Book of Faerie
Audience: Young Adult 
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: James and Dee have been selected to attend Thornking-Ash School, a boarding school for talented musicians. Nuala, a faerie who acts as a muse while stealing years off your life, is attracted to James, but he refuses to make a deal. Time is running out for Nuala, and, to make matters worse, she cares for James more than she should. James thinks Nuala may be able to help him get over Dee, Meanwhile, strange faerie things are happening and Dee may be in too deep. Both Nuala and Dee need saving, but James can only save one. Who will he choose...and will it be the right choice?

What I thought: I found a lot of parallels between this and Where She Went by Gayle Forman. Both have a music focus, both have relationships that need saving or mending, both have changed points of view from the female voice in the first book (Lament and IfI Stay) to the male voice in the second and both show the strengthening talents of the writers. What is interesting is despite these parallels, they are distinctively different books.
Just like Forman with Where She Went, Ballad was a more polished, tighter book than Lament. I also love the fact a Gathering of Faerie is different from the Wolves of Mercy Falls. I read Mercy Falls first and loved it, but something about Faerie sings to me. The story seems deeper, more substantial, darker and less “mainstream.” I really hope Ballad is not the last we hear of the Faeries.

Recommended for: Stiefvater lovers.

Where She Went

Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: Fiction 
Series: If I Stay: Book 2
Audience: Young Adult 
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: It’s five years since Mia made the choice to stay and woke from her coma. In choosing to stay, she chose to leave her parents and younger brother, killed in the car crash that injured her. Much has changed in five years. For a start, Mia and Adam are no longer together. Mia is on the verge of classical stardom with her cello. Adam and his band Shooting Star have made it big, but without Mia, Adam is struggling. A chance meeting between the two in New York, 24 hours before the each leave on separate tours, gives them the chance to reconnect and sort out what happened. But is there anything left to salvage or is the damage that was done five years ago to big to repair?

What I thought: The first thing that struck me about this is how much more polished Where She Went is than If I Stay. Told from Adam’s point of view, it was easy to see the development in Forman’s writing . Where She Went is tighter, the characters clearer, the flow smoother. I loved the change of view to Adam, showing you didn’t have to be directly involved in an accident to be hurt by it. Forman kept you guessing as to what the outcome would be. Mia and Adam's re-meeting was not easy, the path was not clear and the reader is not sure if there will be a happy ever after ending. All in all I found Where She Went well crafted and incredibly enjoyable. I look forward to more of Forman’s writing.

Recommended for: those who enjoyed If I Stay and want to know what happened next!

29 June, 2011

Six Impossible Things

Author: Fiona Wood
Genre: Fiction 
Audience: Young Adult 
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: Dan Cerrill’s (pronounced surreal NOT cereal!) life has been turned upside down. His family’s business has gone under, he has had to move out of his large, comfortable home to a run down house, his dad has left after announcing he is gay, he has to start a new school and he is in love with the girl next door. Six Impossible Things follows Dan as he tries to deal with all of this and his mother’s failing wedding cake business.

What I thought
This is the final Children’s Book Council Awards, Older Readers Shortlisted 2011 book that I needed to read. The reviews for the other 5 shortlisted books can be found here.
This was a lovely book. Dan deals with the multitude of issues in his life with aplomb! There is no hysteria, over reaction, overly dramatic events. Everything is believable . I really like Dan and was hoping for the best for him at every turn. In the end, a lovely book I totally enjoyed.

Recommended for: those who like a nice coming of age story.


Title: Lament
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Fiction 
Series: Book of Faerie
Audience: Young Adult 
Format: Book

Synopsis: Deirdre can see faeries. But these aren’t the cute, kind type you find at the bottom of your garden. No, these faeries are far from that. On top of that, there’s Luke, a rather attractive young man that Deirdre is infatuated with, but who has been sent by the faerie queen to assassinate Deirdre.

What I thought: Maggie Stiefvater is, of course, the author of the Wolves ofMercy Falls series. But before that, there was Lament, the first book in the Booksof Faerie. I’m always a bit wary of reading earlier books from an author after I have read and loved later books. (does that make sense??) Often it is quite obvious why the later book was the successful one. So I did approach Lament with a bit of trepidation. And you know, it’s not as polished as Wolves, it reads a little rougher, a little less smooth, but the further I went, the less I cared. The story crept up on you and drew you in. What is the faerie queen’s problem with this shy, gifted musician? Why is Luke spending so much time protecting her when he is meant to be killing her? Who is on her side and who isn’t?? All questions that keep you engaged and turning the pages.
 The second in this series, Ballad, was released the same year as Shiver. I look forward to reading it to see whether it is as raw as Lament or more polished. Should be interesting!  

Recommended for: those who have read Mercy Falls and wants to see what else Stiefvater can do.

28 June, 2011

Land of Painted Caves

Author: Jean M Auel
Genre: Fiction 
Series: Earth's Children
Audience: Adult 
Format: Kindle

Synopsis: In this, the sixth and final book of Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series, Ayla, Jondalar, Jonayla, Zelandoni and other characters, embark on a tour of various sacred cave sites as part of Ayla’s Zelandoni training. As she travels, Ayla must decide if being a Zelandoni is what she really wants or if she would prefer a simpler life.

What I thought:  I’ve long held the belief that the first two books (Clan of the Cave Bear and The Valley of Horses) were fantastic and well worth reading. Books three and four (The Mammoth Hunters and The Plains of Passage) were ok, but could have benefited from a good editor. Book five (The Shelters of Stone) is where it really started slipping and I can remember thinking I would not read another one. And then Land of Painted Caves came out and we’ve been told it’s the last one so how could I not read it. Oh how I wish I had not! Slow, painful, repetitive and all together too long, I found everything happened in the last two hundred pages. By then, I was past caring and the events that unfolded were predictable and anti climatic. Auel seemed to feel a need to fulfill a word quota and decided to do this by constantly repeating Ayla’s long formal introduction whenever the met someone. This extensive list grew tedious after the second airing and only made you wonder if everyone who was traveling with her were as sick of hearing as you were. Anyone who had read the book would recognise the importance of the connections and titles listed without needing to be constantly reminded of them. I also found the many repetitions of the Mother’s Song tedious and pointless. Again, the many inclusions of the song added nothing to the book but word count.  Each cave visited by Ayla and the other characters was also described in great detail. While this could have been incredibly interesting, after the third or fourth cave, you realised each description was pretty much like the last and added very little, if anything to the story. I most probably only read half of the book, skimming the endless descriptions and rehashed information. Auel is now 75 and I really hope that this is the last book. I know for one that if she feels the need to write another, I won’t make the same mistake twice!

Recommended for: it's not. Seriously, don't waste your time.

27 June, 2011

Library Loot

Library Loot is co-hosted by Claire at The Captive Reader and Marg at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.  This week it's hosted by Claire at The Captive Reader,  so pop over and see who else is participating.

It has been awhile since I've done a loot post. In fact, it's been awhile since I've done a post! Life is busy, but hopefully today I'll be able to catch up on some stuff. Loot first!

Non Book

Little Children - read the book ages ago, am interested in seeing what the movie is like.

Deadliest Catch - Season 6. Last season available until season 7 comes out. I will be watching for it! I've already watched and returned this.

Mad Men Season 3. Fantastic series!
Watched and returned

Watched and returned.
The Cider House Rules. A movie I have heard a lot about and am interested to watch.

 She Will Have Her Way - The Songs of Tim and Neil Finn


Wilful Blue - Sonya Hartnett

Library loot since I last posted: 19                         Year to date  Fiction - 45
                                                                                                     Non Fiction - 19
                                                                                                     Non Book - 30
                                                                                                     Total - 94

01 June, 2011

Book Group

May Book Group Collage

I love my book group. It's a wonderful group of gorgeous women who get together once a month, regenerating my soul and encouraging me to stretch the boundaries of my reading. We've been going for about 2 years and it really is the highlight of my month.

So we got together on Sunday. A few things had happened which meant the original plan had not come to fruition, so one of our number came up with a wonderful idea to share poetry and a book reading. What followed was a fantastic sharing of inspirational, thoughtful and discussion provoking passages.

We had a very emotional reading of the end of Of Mice and Men, some literary Australian history with Banjo Paterson's work and a smattering of other lovely readings. The highlight however, was a poem by Kate Llewellyn read by the beautiful Rachael.


As I lean over to write
One breast warm as a breast from the sun
hangs over as if to read what I'm writing
Sometimes exploring the inside curve of my elbow
Sometimes measuring a man's hand
Lying still as a pond
Until he cannot feel he is holding anything
but water
Then he dreams he is floating.

In the morning my breast is refreshed
And wants to know something new
As you will realise
These are my body's curious fruit
Wanting to know everything
Always getting there first
Strange as white beetroot
Exotic as unicorns
I know my breast knows more than I do
Prying, hanging over fences
Interested as a reporter
Or eager as a woman wanting to gossip.
They tell me nothing
But they say quite a lot about me.

One of our members, and one of my oldest and bestest friends, Joanne,  is a budding photographer and she took and collaged the photos at the beginning of the post and agreed to let me use it here. Please note the wine and the cheese, essential parts of our book group!  I'd provide a website, but she doesn't have one! Thanks for the photo Jo, it's gorgeous. I look forward to next months!