Tag Archives: Young Adult

Bleach – Volume 1 by Tite Kubo

Image Description: the book-cover of Bleach Volume 1 by Tite Kubo. The cover is a mostly white background with an adolescent male with orange hair wearing a black robe and pulling a sword out of a sheath.
Title: Bleach – Volume 1
Author: Tite Kubo
Social Media: Goodreads and Twitter
Publisher: Viz Media
Format and Price: Paperback at $10.56
Rating: 4 out of 5

About The Author:
Tite Kubo, the son of a town council member in Fuchu, Aki District, Hiroshima. He never took drawing seriously until he was 17; after reading Dragon Ball he knew he wanted to be a manga artist. At the age of 18 he submitted his first concept for the series Zombiepowder but it got rejected. Zombiepowder was rejected multiple times until Kubo was 22, when it finally was accepted by Shonen Jump. It did not last long; it was cancelled after four volumes in late 2000. His next series, Bleach, about a high school student who becomes a shinigami and fights hollows, was not such a failure. Bleach began regular publication in 2001. It has been running in Weekly Shonen Jump ever since.

About The Book:
Hot-tempered 15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki, the hero of the popular fantasy-adventure Bleach , has the unsettling ability to see spirits who are unable to rest in peace. His sixth sense leads him to Rukia, a Soul Reaper who destroys Hollows (soul-devouring monsters) and ensures the deceased find repose with the Soul Society. When she’s injured in battle, Rukia transfers her sword and much of her power to Ichigo, whose spiritual energy makes him a formidable substitute Soul Reaper. But the orange-haired teenager isn’t sure he wants the job: too many risks and moral dilemmas.

General Observations:
~Sliding Scale of Plot VS Character: The series Bleach is very Action orientated (lots of fight scenes) but the story itself is more Character orientated, when Tite Kubo focuses on specific characters, he does a great job, but the plot is slow. In fact, with Bleach, there are a lot of subtle hints and clues that a first-time reader might not necessarily pick up. There’s also a lot of back-story and character history that is only hinted at within the first three volumes, but it does get explained and does make sense.

~I Found This Humerus: While there are lots of good fight scenes (if that’s what you’re into), it’s the wide range of humour that I enjoy the most about this series. As the series progresses, it does get Darker and Edgier, so the humour balances things out.

~Long Term Commitment: While I think highly of the Bleach Manga series, I did stop reading the series half-way through The Lost Agent Arc. This is for multiple reasons, the primary reason being Arc Fatigue and the fact that the reader in dumped right into the middle of a time-skip and I was introduced to a whole bunch of new characters (via an organization called “Xcution”) that I cared very little for (mind you, this is at least 50 volumes into a 74 Volume series). I’m going to attempt to read it from the beginning.

All in all, it’s a good action urban fantasy with a super intricate plot, and I am happy to recommend.

Available For Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Fruits Basket: Volume 1 by Takaya Natsuki

Image Description: the front cover of a manga-book, Fruits Basket - Volume 1. The front cover depicts a peach-coloured background, while in the foreground there is a female high-school student with long brown hair and brown eyes in a navy-blue and white high-school uniform, kneeling on the ground and smiling up at the reader.
Image Description: the front cover of a manga-book, Fruits Basket – Volume 1. The front cover depicts a peach-coloured background, while in the foreground there is a female high-school student with long brown hair and brown eyes in a navy-blue and white high-school uniform, kneeling on the ground and smiling up at the reader.
Title: Fruits Basket: Volume 1
Author: Takaya Natsuki
Publisher: Chuang Yi Publishing Pte Ltd
Format and Price: Paperback at $15.00 (I bought the series years ago)
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Author/Artist:
Natsuki Takaya (real name Naka Hatake) is the penname of a Japanese manga artist best-known for creating the series Fruits Basket. She was born in Shizuoka, Japan, but was raised in Tokyo, where she made her debut in 1992. She enjoys video games such as the Final Fantasy series or Sakura Wars, or working on her different manga series, such as Fruits Basket, which is the second best-selling shōjo manga ever in Japan, and the top selling shōjo manga in North America. Fruits Basket has also been adapted into a twenty-six-episode anime series. In 2001, Takaya received a Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo manga for Fruits Basket.

According to Takaya (in a sidebar of a Fruits Basket manga volume), she enjoys drawing girls (girly ones) more than she does boys. Takaya also enjoys electronics and music, but dislikes talking about herself. Also revealed in a sidebar of Fruits Basket, Takaya broke her drawing arm (left) after Fruits Basket volume six was published. She had to go into surgery, and as a result, had put Fruits Basket on a brief hiatus. Takaya made a full recovery, but complains that her handwriting had gotten uglier, due to the surgery. During her hospital stay, she gained an interest in baseball.

About The Manga:
A family with an ancient curse…

And the girl who will change their lives forever…

Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home. Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she’s introduced to the Sohma’s world of magical curses and family secrets.

General Observations:
~An Introduction: Volume One is a great introduction of what is to come and the slow progression of meeting the individual members of the Zodiac, one at a time, complete with whacky-antics, shenanigans and surprisingly depressing back-stories (seriously depressing, have your tissues ready). I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the cast of characters were diagnosed with PTSD, especially since Tohru is a pretty good example of a Stephford Smiler.

~Nostalgia Goggles: Fruits Basket is one of the first shojo manga series I ever read so I have a deep love for it and I am completely bias towards it, despite the possibly problematic elements that surface later on. I’m not saying people shouldn’t watch the anime adaptation of the manga, but if you only watch the anime, you missing ENORMOUS chunks from the narrative that only get resolved later on. This manga series is a long term investment, so buckle up and get ready for the ride, I promise it’s worth the wait.

~I Found This Humerus: Despite the fact that its darker as the series progresses, Natsuki Takaya is a great comedy writer and the humour is what brings it back into the light.

~Dysfunction Junction: I don’t want to spoil the series but as the reader slowly gets to know more and more about Tohru Honda, Yuki Sohma, Kyo Sohma, Shigure Sohma, her immediate family members, her friends Uo and Hana (although volumes focusing on them appear much later down the track) as well as other members of The Sohma family, I couldn’t help but notice the common theme: everyone’s family is messed up.

Hana’s family is at the positive end of the scale (mostly positive with some added weird and quirkiness), while The Sohma family belongs at the opposite end the scale (seriously fucked up and emotionally abusive, verbally abusive and occasionally physically abusive in multiple ways/levels). So, while the first few volumes come across as a slap-stick family comedy/drama, I just wanted to put in a family abuse trigger warning in here.

All in all, a great beginning to a complex series, completely worthy of 5 stars and I’m happy to recommend to anyone and everyone

Available for purchase: Amazon and Book Depository

The Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017: The Devil Is In The Details

Image Description: a title page with the words Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017: The Devil Is In The Details in rainbow coloured word-art with four red roses in each corner Image Description: a title page with the words Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017: The Devil Is In The Details in rainbow coloured word-art with four red roses in each corner

One of my biggest struggles with academia was that my essays were perfectly clear to me, the reasoning and structure of the article was obvious. It turns out, this is usually never the case, it usually always turns out to be that that my essays only make sense to me. So, my apologies if my previous instructions seemed confusing and difficult to follow.

I have a great love for the movie Nightmare Before Christmas and I also have a strong emotional connection to Jack Skellington: a being with the enthusiasm of a thousand passionate actors but the common sense of a wet cabbage. I’m so eager to begin a project, I forget the finer details required. This post will hopefully flesh out the Terms and Conditions in greater detail, however, please contact me if there is any need for further clarification.

How To Review

In order to meet the Minimum Standard of Review, participants need to include the following:
-A star rating from DNF (did not finish), 1 star, 2 stars, 3 stars, 4 stars and 5 stars.
-One aspect of the book the reader liked
-One aspect of the book the reader didn’t like or thought could be improved
-Answer the question of “Would you recommend this book to others?”

In order to meet the Maximum Standard of Review
-A star rating from DNF (did not finish), 1 star, 2 stars, 3 stars, 4 stars and 5 stars.
-Three aspects of the book the reader liked
-Three aspects of the book the reader didn’t like or thought could be improved
– Answer the question of “Would you recommend this book to others?”

Pictures and gifs can be used in place of words in a review. Participants can also make video reviews and just talk about the book (maximum video length 10 minutes or under), participants will have to provide a hyperlink to the video. Participants can also make audio recordings of their review (maximum audio track length of 10 minutes or under), participants will have to provide a hyperlink to the audio-recording. If participants have an alternative method of reviewing that I have not mentioned, please feel free to contact me and discuss this alternative method with me. My email is brkyle(dot)author(at)gmail(dot)com

The participant then publishes the review either on their social media platform of choice or goodreads.com, they will then click on the little blue-frog icon below

The blue frog will lead to a separate page where participants will be able to add their link to their review.

Books

Any physical format is acceptable, any format of electronic books (for example: epub, pdf, mobi) is acceptable, the main objective here is to connect the potential reader with the author, so if the review is positive and you want to recommend the book to others, you need to leave a hyperlink that allows people to access the book.

When it comes to purchasing physical books, I tend to recommend purchasing via through Book Depository because they offer free delivery to Australia, but I understand that this might not work for everyone, especially for Indie Authors. Kim raised valid points about accessibility and as along as the potential reader can access the book, that’s what counts.

Due to the complexity surrounding Fanfiction, I will have to exclude Fanfiction as reading material for this giveaway (perhaps I will reconsider this for the next giveaway, but not for this one).

What kind of Disability theme/structure am I looking for in a book?

My personal approach to reading Diverse Books is to look at the genre of the book first, then I consider the Diversity element. I don’t want to read books just for the sake of Diversity, if I do that, I’m going to struggle and argue with myself (“I must finish this book, it has diverse characters in it!” “But it’s so boring!”). I like Diversity Books that have the main characters doing things other protagonists do. Disabled people are just like everyone else and the narrative should reflect that.

Kim also offered some good advice:
“I’d actually look at determining what is and isn’t disability fiction via protagonist: if it features a narrating protagonist disabled in some way, it counts. If if doesn’t and is therefore about The Abled Person’s experience, no. Of course, you’ll get stuff that isn’t written by folk with disabilities and is written awfully – *cough*Garth Nix*cough* but the job of a reviewer is to read that and mark it so others don’t, not to read only great representation.”

So, how I verify that I’m reading a book about Disability that meets that criteria?

Well I’m not sure if I can answer that in a definitive way. Unfortunately it’s difficult to determine what type of disability a book is about (Side Note To Authors: Mention the disability you’re writing about directly in the blurb, I’ve had to spend a considerable amount of time reading through reviews to determine which disability a book is about, I shouldn’t have to do that) let alone make sure a disabled person is the main protagonist.

To be honest, I think that the most I can do is make a list of books, list what type of Disability is featured and let people decide if they’re interested or not. I’ve done some researching and I found out that Corinne Duyvis (one of the founders of Disability in Kidlit) has a Goodreads account and a Bookshelf dedicated to books with Disabled Main Characters:

~Corinne Duyvis’s Bookshelf: Disabled Main Characters

So, I used this bookshelf, as well as some recommendations from other book blogs, to make these two Goodreads Bookshelves:

~B.R. Kyle’s Bookshelf: Disability

~B.R. Kyle’s Bookshelf: Mental Health

Now, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to verify all of the books on the Bookshelves via Disability in Kidlit’s reviews and honor roll and I also haven’t read a lot of them myself. There is also a lot of the books on the bookshelf that are classified as belonging to the Young Adult genre, which might not suit everyone, so I’ve tried to balance out the Young Adult novels with Adult Memoirs, but there’s not much else I can do.

Please check out the links and see if those books work for you, but it’s okay if they don’t or you already have your own book list organised. I’ve spent the majority of today and yesterday working a list of books about disability that have been given the Disability in Kidlit Seal of Approval (if people would like to make suggestions, please do so in the comments section below):

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Category: Disability and Own voices
Disability in Kidlit Review

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
Category: Disability (amputee) and POC main character
Disability in Kidlit Review

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
Category: Disability and Own voices
Disability in Kidlit Review

On The Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
Category: Disability and Own voices
Disability in Kidlit Review

Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Category: Disability (Chronic pain and mobility issues) and GSM
Disability in Kidlit Review

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Category: Disability (cancer) and mental illness
Disability in Kidlit Review

What I Couldn’t Tell You by Faye Bird
Category: Disability (selective mutism)
Disability in Kidlit Review

Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
Category: Disability (cerebral palsy),
Disability in Kidlit Review

The Elementals by Saundra Mitchell
Category: Disability (One MC is recovering from Polio)
Disability in Kidlit

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez
Category: Mental Health (Depression and Suicide)
Disability in Kidlit Review

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank
Category: Disability and Mental health
Disability in Kidlit Review

Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane
Category: Disability (Autistic MC)
Disability in Kidlit Review

Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson
Category: Disability and Mental health (OCD)
Disability in Kidlit Review

Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John
Category: Disability (Deaf MC)
Disability in Kidlit Review

Blind Spot by Laura Ellen
Category: Disability (Blindness) and Own Voices
Finding Yourself in a Book: Why I Wrote Blind Spot by Laura Ellen

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle
Category: Disability (Autistic MC)
Disability in Kidlit Review

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Category: Disability and mental health (OCD and Social Anxiety)
Disability in Kidlit Review

When We Collided by Emery Lord
Category: Disability and Mental health (Bi-polar)
Disability in Kidlit Review

Autism Goes to School by Sharon A. Mitchell
Category: Disability (Autistic characters)
L.C. Reviews: Autism Goes to School (YouTube video)

Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017 – Disability Booklist (PDF)

Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017 – Disability Booklist (Word Document)

I know that’s probably considered a short list, but I figured it was a good starting point, these are meant to be guidelines and I don’t want to overwhelm people. I also don’t want to start going into “English teacher territory” of telling people what they should and shouldn’t read, however, these are reviews written by disabled people, with disabled people talking about books written about their specific disability, and I think their judgement of what constitutes as acceptable representation is the standard the publishing industry needs to aiming for.

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Graffiti Moon
Title: Graffiti Moon
Author: Cath Crowley
Social Media: Facebook, Goodreads, Tumblr and Twitter
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Format and Price: Paperback at $16.99

About The Author:
Cath Crowley is an award-winning author of young adult novels, The Gracie Faltrain series, Chasing Charlie Duskin and Graffiti Moon. She lives, writes, and teaches creative writing in Melbourne. Her next book, The Howling Boy, will be out in 2016.

About The Book:
Lucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist.
Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose.
Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn’t the best way to show it. Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other.

An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be. A lyrical new YA novel from the award-winning author of Chasing Charlie Duskin and the Gracie Faltrain series.

General Observations:
~It’s Personal: Now I will admit, there is a small amount of personal bias involved here. I met Cath Crowley once at a Melbourne Writer’s Festival workshop when Graffiti Moon had just come out. Cath Crowley kept the room entertained and engaged with inspirational anecdotes, like when she was out late looking at inner city graffiti art and she thought was going to be robbed by a trio of teenagers. It turns out they didn’t want to rob her, but they did ask her if she could pretend to be their mum so they could get a tattoo (to which she politely declined).

Cath Crowley also spoke of the thought process of how she wrote Graffiti Moon, the motivations behind Lucy learning glass-blowing and how she changed the relationship of Lucy’s parents from divorced to dysfunctional by overall happy (which I thought was the better choice). Anyone wishing to hire Cath Crowley for Writing Workshops, I highly recommend her, you can contact her through her website (links are above).

~Engaging Narrative Elements: The narrative takes place over twenty-four hours, the pacing is fast and well written to make the plot urgency. I liked how even though the readers are introduced to the basic premise to the plot (“Will they rob the school and get away with it?), the author keeps throwing in other things like Malcolm Dove and Beth (the Beth situation was handled really well). The characters were interesting and they all bonded well together (the three guys, the three girls, the six of them together).

~Representation Matters: Now, there’s not a lot of representation in terms of race, in fact it might just be me looking for something that’s not there (or perhaps I’m being racist and buying into stereotypes). I’m not sure if Jazz is an ethnic minority (not a lot of evidence outside of the fact that she has dark hair and braids), but I like to think of her as an ethnic minority. However if Jazz is a woman of colour, am I buying into the Magical Negro stereotype?

Are Leo and his brother Jake of Aboriginal or Samoan background? I got in the impression they were described as large solid guys with dark features but live with their grandmother due to alcoholic parents. Am I racist for thinking they could be Aboriginal or Samoan? After all, there are plenty of white families with dysfunctional alcoholic parents.

While I understand the importance of Young Adult readers being able to slot themselves into the skins of the characters, I think that vague character descriptions are a bigger problem, if Cath Crowley had been more specific with certain details, it would have made it easier for me to understand the characters and their struggles. However I could have this all wrong (and my apologies if I have come across as racist), maybe all the characters are white, which leads to a bigger problem. After all, Cath Crowley is writing about inner city artists, who have a history of living in low socio-economic areas that are heavily populated by ethnic minorities.

All in all, a great read that I regret not reading sooner by an engaging Australian Author. However, I want to ask Readers if the issue of race in Young Adult books (or books in general) bother you? Is the racial issue I have with this book just me? Feel free to leave a comment.

Links:
“Race in YA Lit: Wake Up & Smell the Coffee-Colored Skin, White Authors!” by Sarah Ockler

It Matters If You’re Black or White: The Racism of YA Book Covers by Annie Schutte
RMFAO Genre Challenge 2016
AWWC 2016

Sweet Damage by Rebecca James

Sweet Damage
Title: Sweet Damage
Author: Rebecca James
Social Media: Goodreads and Twitter
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Source: Book supplied by Collins Booksellers – Bacchus Marsh
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About The Author:
Rebecca James is the author of BEAUTIFUL MALICE, SWEET DAMAGE and the forthcoming COOPER BARTHOLOMEW IS DEAD. She has worked as a waitress, a kitchen designer, an English teacher in both Indonesia and Japan, a barmaid, and (most memorably) a mini-cab telephone-operator in London. Rebecca lives in Canberra, Australia, with her partner and their four sons.

About The Book:
‘I still dream about Anna London’s house. In my dreams it’s as if the house itself has sinister intentions. But in real life it wasn’t the house that was responsible for what happened. It was the people who did the damage …’

When Tim Ellison finds a cheap room to rent in the perfect location in Sydney it looks like a huge stroke of luck. In fact the room comes with a condition, and the owner of the house, the mysterious Anna London, is unfriendly and withdrawn. When strange and terrifying things start happening in the house at night, Tim wonders if taking the room is a mistake. But then his feelings for Anna start to change, and when her past comes back with a vengeance, Tim is caught right in the middle of it. A thrilling roller-coaster of a story – Read it with the lights on!

General Observations:
~Great Narrative: The pacing and plot twists are well planned out, just when I thought I had something figured out – BAM! The reader is smacked in the face, which is great. The mystery has a satisfying and understandable resolution and Anna and Tim grow and change for the better. It’s perfectly fine to take time out to figure out what you want to do with your life, and it’s okay to not know what you’re going to do either.

~Interesting Characters: there’s very much a class warfare struggle going on here, but I like the contrast between Lilla and Marcus/Fiona, both grew up in low socio-economic families, both of them still carry the scars of an emotionally traumatizing childhood (growing up poor or even lower-middle class is not easy), however in contrast to Lilla, Marcus and Fiona managed to move past it and become successful despite this. However, I have a problem with the comparison between Anna and Lilla. Both have problems with their mothers and while I know Lilla is supposed to be the Villain of this piece but she does make a valid point about money and privilege.

~Mental Illness: The topic of mental illness is a difficult thing to discuss in reality, especially since there are a lot of problematic aspects that come up with family members and doctors, as most doctors and family members do not understand what it is like to personally affected by depression and anxiety. However, Rebecca James handles Anna’s agoraphobia, anxiety and depression in a realistic and understanding way. Too many times Authors use character like Tim as a Knight In Shining Armour, and it’s wrong because mentally ill people don’t need to be rescued. Mentally ill people need support, empathy and help so that they can help themselves. Tim is supportive of Anna in an emphatic and compassionate manner that’s not patronizing. I still have the problem of trying to fix things instead of just being there for that person and letting people be upset (we all have the right to feel anxious and depressed, we all have the right to feel and express emotions, negative or positive). It’s really refreshing for an author to get this right because unfortunately most of the time Authors don’t or are down right offensive.

~There Are No Therapists: However, while I think Lilla is hideous bitch for judging Anna, as I mentioned before Anna’s wealth does give her the position to stay home and take time out to recover (poor people can’t afford to do this, regardless of their anxiety). It also gives her the ability to pursue professional help for her psychological issues (in fact, organizing an in-house therapy session for her is never mentioned despite the fact that one is clearly needed).

~Plot Hole: Also the Australian child support system doesn’t work that way, sure Lilla’s mum might be taking $200 dollars under the table (without anyone’s knowledge or government interference), but why would she agree to that? The child support system takes a percentage of Parent B’s wages, and while there are ways around paying child support or minimizing how much child support should be paid (unemployment or getting remarried), a single mother presumably living on welfare is well aware that she could be earning a lot more than $200 extra (and lets not even get started on all the money Lilla’s mother could earn giving interviews in the tabloids), Lilla’s mother gains nothing by keeping silent.

AWWC 2016

Yearly Overview 2015: The Year of Meh and CBF

CBF
Number Of Books You Read: 10
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Young Adult

01. Best Book You Read In 2015?
nerdy shy and socially inappropriate
Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life by Cynthia Kim

02. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Divergent
Divergent by Veronica Roth

03. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Anna Dressed In Blood
Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake (good way)

04. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
The Painted Man
The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett, despite the fact that I haven’t yet read it myself

05. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?
Wolf StrapSilver Kiss
Wolf Strap and Silver Kiss by Naomi Clark

06. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
V.E. Schwab

07. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
You're Never Weird On The Internet (Almost)
You’re Never Weird On The Internet by Felicia Day, I don’t usually do memoirs

08. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
sweet ruin
Sweet Ruin by Kresley Cole

09. A Book That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Good Omens
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
The Night Circus
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, although I haven’t finished reading it

11. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
nerdy shy and socially inappropriate
Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life by Cynthia Kim

12. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
Outlander
Cross-Stitch (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon, my sister’s been pestering me to read this for ages but I’m really struggling with it

13. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
“If someone’s takeaway from this story is “Felicia Day said don’t study!,” I’ll punch you in the face. But I AM saying don’t chase perfection for perfection’s sake, or for anyone else’s sake at all. If you strive for something, make sure it’s for the right reasons. And if you fail, that will be a better lesson for you than any success you’ll ever have. Because you learn a lot from screwing up. Being perfect . . . not so much.”

14.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
Sweet Ruin (432 pages) and Wolf Strap (38 pages)

15. Book That Shocked You The Most
sweet ruin
Sweet Ruin by Kresely Cole (big plot twist involved and it was good to get some answers about Thaddeus and his sister)

16. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
None really, unfortunately 2015 was the year of meh for me

17. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Hiro and Tadashi
Hiro and Tadashi from Big Hero 6, okay I need to read more than ten books a year, this has become apparent to me, however it still counts 🙂

Book Blogging
01. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
Paper Fury, The Galaxial Word, WTF Bad Romance Covers

02. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
Probably Wolf Strap and Silver Kiss by Naomi Clark

03. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Probably my NaNoWriMo posts

04. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
When Michael Connolly came to The Wheeler Center in Melbourne a few years ago

05. Best moments of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
Getting to good discussions with Cait from Paper Fury about books and writing

06. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
The TBR pile keeps growing but my motivation keeps shrinking, I’m hoping to get myself out of a reading slump soon

07. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
My NaNoWriMo Posts

08. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Probably Thoughts, Words and Actions, I put a lot of effort into that post

09. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Probably WTF Bad Romance Covers, that site is hilarious

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I completed my Goodreads challenge of 10 books but I wanted to get more reading done

Looking Ahead
01. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?
American Gods
American Gods by Neil Gaiman

02. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?
The Wrath and The Dawn
The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

03. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
The Rose and The Dagger
The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

04. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
White Cat
Red Glove
White Cat and Red Glove by Holly Black, I’ve been meaning to read these books for ages

05. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?
Review more books this year and finish two of my NaNoWriMo projects (written, edited and ready for publishing)

06. A 2015 Release You’ll Recommend To Everyone:
The Game of Love and Death
The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

Survey made available from: The Perpetual Page Turner (thank you :D)

Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed In Blood
Title: Anna Dressed In Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Social Media: Goodreads and Twitter
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates, Imprint for Tor Teen
Price and Format: eBook at $10.99
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About The Author:
Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most of which you can find information about via the links above. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller.
She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their two cat sons (Tybalt and Tyrion Cattister) and their red Doberman dog son, Obi Dog Kenobi.

About The Book:
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
Yet she spares Cas’s life.

General Observations:
~Interesting Narrative: I really like the narrative situation, people die, there’s a massive plot twist and the lone-wolf main character figures out he’s an arsehole and needs friends, and it’s through the power of friendship that the “bad-guy” gets defeated (which I approve of). Speaking of the “bad-guy”, I’m glad that the author is mentioning different cultures, I felt the author could have gone into more details about Voodoo, but then again the narrative pacing is fast and keeps the reader on edge so there might not have been time for Voodoo 101 lesson.

~Engaging Characters: I loved Thomas, I just wanted to pick him up and hug him like the adorable puppy he is. I also liked how Carmel is included as a character, on the surface she appears to be the stereotypical Queen Bee, but she’s actually a good person and is nice to people, she even got a pretty good action scene as well (never underestimate the power of a metal baseball bat, even if you’re dealing with ghosts and whatnot). There’s also no love triangles at all, Huzzah!

~World Building: The setting Thunder Bay could have used some more description and world building, the reader was only ever exposed to four places: Home, Antiques shop, Anna’s Place and School. Thunder Bay is set in Canada but I honestly could not have told you that, but then again Australian media is so over-saturated with US orientated media, so most people assume that Canadian schools and schools from the US are exactly alike, and I don’t think that’s the case.

Overall, great book really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series Girl of Nightmares

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