Supa(fun)nova

I went to Supanova for the first time yesterday, and guess what?!

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(my face was doing a weird excited thing)

I MET ANNE BISHOP. NO BIG DEAL. JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY IN THE LIFE OF MOI.

Ermergerd. I got my copy of Marked In Flesh signed and asked her what inspired her to start the series. She said she started to think about what kind of world it’d be if animals turned into humans and not the other way around, and it evolved from there. I told her that I only just recently discovered her work and am obsessed. With a smile, she said I’ll be happy to know that she brought in the last book in the series, Etched In Bone, earlier this year in March so it should be coming soon! AHHHHH. I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE IT!

Tamora Pierce was also there but guysssss, the line was so long and I had to get home. ūüė¶ I was honestly so bummed out because TAMORA PIERCE!!!!¬† but it couldn’t be helped. I felt a little better when I got home. I’m hoping I’ll get another opportunity to meet her and tell her how much the Lioness Quartet changed my life.

The other authors in attendance were:

ian-Irvine-Profile-BAlison-Goodman-Profile-Version-AKeri-Arthur-Profile-BJustin-Wooley-Profile-Version-DMaria-Lewis-Profile-Version-A(images from Supanova)

I haven’t read any of these author’s books, save for¬†Ian Irvine’s¬†Vengeance which I never got around to finishing, so I didn’t visit them.


Kudos to my little brother, the real MVP, who came along with me. My friends were busy so we went together. He’s the reason why I actually have pictures to post and look at because I’m not a photo-taking person in general, lol. And he was very patient waiting in the lines with me, even if, in Tamora’s case, we waited an hour only to leave without seeing her. He also didn’t get anything even though I insisted (big sister always pays. Aren’t I just the best? ūüėĚ) but he’s more into gaming than books/movies/tv shows. I just really appreciated his company yesterday. Gonna make it up to him by taking him to the EB Games Expo in September. We’re gonna fun so much fun! Overwatch goodies, anyone?

Anyway, here are the three things I bought from Supanova:

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Pop! Vinyls of Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion
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Hogwarts Scarf
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Deathly Hallows bracelet

The first two are from Popcultcha and the bracelet is from Nine Lives Handmade Gifts.


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View outside my window

It’s a rainy, gloomy winter day here in Sydney, so I’m gonna head off and hide in my bed!

 

 

BOOK REVIEW | Vision in Silver (The Others #3) by Anne Bishop

5 stars

I’m not even surprised. Anne Bishop is a master storyteller who’s written¬†another amazing installment in The Others series.

Goodreads Summary:¬†The Others freed the¬†cassandra sangue ¬†to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before‚ÄĒboth from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn‚Äôs help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…

I haven’t read a book in¬†months, but Anne Bishop’s The Other’s series has proven to be my go-to books to kickstart my love for reading.

Honestly, a lot of the things I love about this new installment, I’ve written in my reviews for the the first two books. The most important being¬†the characters. I could read a pile of books on them just doing everyday things because they are just¬†that¬†compelling and well-defined, and¬†human. Despite a large portion of them being supernatural creatures, there are those underlying themes of understanding, connection, and friendship that knit them together, with the Humans First and Last movement representing the antithesis of that.¬†They’re very interesting themes, really. And it’s a testament to Anne Bishop that she’s got me really thinking about the story and even empathasing with the humans who are against the¬†terra idigine.

It’s the resulting fear from the refusal to understand and connect that drive the plot. And of course, that primal desire all animals have to survive and claim territory. I found myself thinking about what I would do if there were such things as¬†terra indigine who controlled the land. Would I be swept up in the HFL, or try to help in forging peace with the earth natives? Which side would fear lead me to? The HFL, or the Others?

I like to make notes while I read, and here are some of the few I’ve written down that really stood out for me:

  • Merri Lee’s patience and empathy really shines in this book. Her role, of essentially being the ears¬†and interpreter for Meg’s visions, expands a little in this novel as she helps Meg understand herself and what it means to be¬†cassandra sangue apart from the cutting involved. When Meg does things that seem strange, Merri Lee never judges. Instead she asks her questions in order to understand why she’s acting the way she’s acting, and when she’s understood, provides anecdotes and facts¬†from her own knowledge and experience to assure Meg that her behaviour isn’t all that strange.
  • The dash of humour! It’s always unexpected and it gets me literally laughing out loud. Like Simon knowing not to ask human women about periods and the song of the “Teakettle Woman and Broomstick Girl.”
  • The writing is simple, clean, and well-executed. Anne Bishop describes what only needs to be describes, allowing for¬†a great and immersive read. She’s so good that she’s got me feeling things¬†in my bones, especially at the mere mention of the more feared and powerful others, such as the Elementals.
  • The relationship between Meg and Simon continues to move slowly, but it’s a natural progression that helps the reader value the two parts as strong and complex individuals in their own right, who just so happen to be strong and complex and¬†formidable together.

I enjoyed this book so much that after the first ten pages I decided to order the books from thebookdepository to have on my shelf, and they arrived a few days ago!

The Others Books
Mmmmm…. hardcover.

I’ve also preordered Marked In Flesh because HELL YESSSSSSSSSSS, give me more of that Anne Bishop lovin’.

Hello, 2016!

If there’s anything I learned in 2015, it’s that I’m not very good at running a blog. I’ll make promises and schedules, but never stick to them, which resulted in almost half of year of, well, nothing. Of course, there’s the full-time job to blame (which started around August) which takes up a lot of my energy especially due to the nature of the work and the hours I do. My spare time is spent lazing around because I’m too tired to do anything, and even the thought of reading sounded like a chore.

I’m not going to make promises for this blog for this new year, but I do want to start reading again. I miss being excited over characters and stories and writing my thoughts on them. Which is why I went to the library today for my first haul of 2016.

First 2016 Library Book Haul
I may have gotten too excited…

From top to bottom:

  1. Seven Second Delay, Tom Easton
  2. Winter Be My Shield, Jo Spurrier
  3. Vision In Silver, Anne Bishop
  4. Conqueror’s Moon,¬†Julian May
  5. Malice, John Gwynne

I think I might start with Vision in Silver because I’m 100% guaranteed to enjoy it. Hopefully it’ll reignite that desire to read so that I can move on to others.

Anyway… happy 2016, everyone, and happy reading! ūüôā

BOOK REVIEW | Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

Soooo… I was in a reading¬†slump which is why there was no review yesterday but decided to follow my own advice and sought out a book I knew I would like. Yesterday, I had a quick library run and picked up Murder of Crows. THANK ALL THE DEITIES I LISTENED TO MYSELF. 5 stars Yeah, that’s another FIVE STARS for you, Ms. Anne Bishop. Congratulations on being amazing. You’re already on my list of favourite authors.

Goodreads Summary: After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more. The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murders of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard‚ÄĒLakeside’s shape-shifting leader‚ÄĒwonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of a future threat. As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet‚ÄĒand stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.
Anne Bishop
Behold, the woman rocking my world with her amazing books.

Opening the pages felt like coming home. I’d already decided by the end of the first book that Anne Bishop could do no wrong with these novels because the characters had already taken hold of my heart so it astounds me to no end that in this book, I’ve fallen in love with them even more.

Here are some of the things I loved:

  • An expanding world and new characters. A host of new characters are introduced with the same finesse found in the first book. I was particularly fun to read about the Intuits of Great Island. I could really feel the connection and sense of community between their inhabitants and am looking forward to seeing what role they’ll play in the events of the next book, especially with their new resident.
  • Slow-burn romance.¬†Emphasis on the slow. A few glowing embers of a fire have appeared and I absolutely loved this. The relationship between Meg and Simon develops so organically — as it should — and it’s approached with care. The two of them are complicated in their own ways and it wouldn’t do their characters justice to have them jumping on each other for sexy times without developing anything between them. As with a lot of the things in this series so far, there is a very human story beneath all the supernatural elements and I really felt it in their relationship. This is because of how it¬†emphasises¬†the value of friendship.¬†Meg and Simon acknowledge this on multiple occassions, both in thought and in words. You see it in how they, when faced with a misunderstanding that usually stems from the differences in their nature, talk things through with honesty. How they make efforts to understand the things about the other that confuse them. How they compromise. It is especially refreshing to see a male, Wolf character be honest with himself about such feelings, even though he doesn’t realise those feelings are much more than friendship.
  • Tension galore and Captain Burke. I loved how the tension was so palpable in this book, especially as Captain Burke played a more active role. That scene in the¬†with him and the Hot Crust employees was one of my favourites¬†because it felt like an assertion of how serious the tensions between the humans and the Others were. You can’t just simply put a “Humans Only” sign on your doors and refuse to send deliveries to the Courtyard and not get away with it. The humans live because the Others let them, a fact that seems to be forgotten¬†by the humans as they become more arrogant (stupid). It’s amazing how, while I understand where the humans are coming from, I can side with the Others quite easily. Of course, this issue is very much a parallel to the history of the real world, with explorers claiming ownership to land and resources belonging to indigenous peoples.
  • The human pack.¬†They played a bigger role in this book and it was great to see more scenes with them together. They go through the ringer a little in this, labeled as “Wolf lovers” and shunned by their friends and family as employees and frequent visitors to the Courtyard. But I loved how level-headed they remain compared to the rest of the humans. There’s a conversation they have in the sorting room where they come to the realisation that all of this fighting and tension between the humans and the Others merely comes down to misunderstanding. Both sides have never taken the effort to really get to know and understand each other, their interactions merely like a business deal. You give me that and I’ll give you this. That’s no way to co-exist. It was a really great moment because you could see, especially through Ruth, how much a little effort to understand can change things, and I hope we get to see more of that in the next book with the role that she’ll play in the Courtyard.
  • A different heroine. I’ve seen some reviews that have said Meg is boring and I am here to argue that¬†she is not. She is simply different. Most female protagonists in urban fantasies are made from¬†the same mould: they kick butt, are stubborn and tend to break the rules, and are probably proficient with a *insert weapons of choice here*, or become proficient later on. But Meg’s weapon is her kindness, which I touched on a little in my review of Written In Red. She is kind.¬†That is who she is at her core and as a cassandra sangue and it’s not a weakness. In a world filled with so much tension and violence both on the human and Others side, she is a bright ray of hope and peace. She is strong in her own way. She is smart. She is a survivor. And she,¬†armed only with a¬†broom, will save a Wolf,¬†much to approval of scary Others, thank you very much.

Overall,¬†it was another great read. Though I’m kind of hesitant to start Vision in Silver because Marked in Flesh, the fourth book, comes out and in March 2016 and who can actually wait that long? Barbaric, I tell you. Barbaric.

BOOK REVIEW | Written In Red by Anne Bishop

I’m so happy I could cry. It’s been so long…¬†too¬†long since I’ve read a book that I’ve genuinely, thoroughly enjoyed. So much, that I was reading one night and suddenly it was three in the morning and I didn’t even care. That doesn’t happen often with me, Lover Of Sleep. And so I, with great excitement, am giving this book 5 STARS. ALL THE STARS!

5 stars

I¬†will¬†be raving about this because I loved it, but before I officially start, I feel it’s only right to warn you that this book contains description of self-harm.

Goodreads Summary:

Meg Corbyn is on the run. Alone and desperate, she stumbles into the Lakeside Courtyard, where the Others reside. Meg knows entering a Courtyard is a dangerous risk – most people who tangle with the Others end up dead – but it’s the only place she’ll be safe from the people chasing her.

For Simon Wolfgard, leader of the Others residing in Lakeside, Meg is a puzzle and he has to decide if she is worth the fight to keep her in the Courtyard. It will be a fight not just with the humans hunting her down, but with some of the Others – as well as a fight with his own confusing feelings towards Meg.

For Police Officer Montgomery, Meg is the property he’s supposed to recover – and the spark that could start a confrontation with the Others that would wipe out the human city of Lakeside.

And for Meg, who has seen her own future, living in the Courtyard is a chance to have a life – for what little time she has left.

(Mini spoilers ahead).

I only have one dislike,¬†but obviously, since I gave this book 5 stars,¬†it’s more like a nitpick.

Dislikes

  • Some of the world-building.¬†The¬†setting was obviously some kind of parallel, modern-day earth, but made up name days like Sunsday, Earthsday, Thaisday, etc., got me confused. Those aren’t things¬†I associate with urban fantasies, but with any other fantasy¬†not¬†in an urban setting. Maybe I just haven’t read enough books yet? It didn’t distract me too much anyway because there were a lot of other things to love about this book.

Likes

  • The greatest thing about this book are the characters. There are so many of them but they’re given distinct and lovable characteristics. In fact, my point of no return, the moment¬†where I decided to sell my soul to this book, was on page 72, incited by a minor character who’d only appeared about twice or thrice thus far. I’d already been enjoying the book before this, but this character moment¬†sealed the deal.

John was the first to reach the stockroom, but one look at Simon had him backing away. Tess came next, her hair streaked green and red.

“Simon?” Tess asked. “What’s wrong?”

Before he could answer, the back door opened again, almost smacking his hindquarters. He whirled and snapped at Jenni, who had shifted from Crow and was a naked, shivering human.

She ignored the cold and she ignored him, which was beyond insulting since he was the leader of this Courtyard. Instead, she focused on Tess.

“Simon was being mean. He made the Meg cry. I’m going over there to the store to see if I can find a sparkly that will make her smile again. The Meg smiles a lot–when the Wolf isn’t snarling at her.”

The buildup to that moment was just really sweet and got me smiling, internally sobbing, and¬†thinking, “I’m done for.”

Alternate cover.

As for Meg, I admit to being lowkey bothered with her¬†because she was coming off as one of those protagonists that seemed to be adored by everyone. I mean, her¬†transition into the Courtyard was¬†a little difficult at first, but once she gets the hang of things, even the species of Others that are considered the most dangerous felt the desire to protect her. And then I realised I was being ridiculous. Here we have a woman who, despite basically living in an abusive environment her whole life,¬†is kind, empathetic and considerate. Even when the Others in the Courtyard find out she’s a blood prophet, which is more than enough reason to protect her,¬†I never got the feeling that it was the only thing relied on. You get that all the time in fiction. Protect The Girl Because She’s Important. But in this book, it’s so¬†much more than that. Yes, protect her because she’s important, but also¬†protect her because she’s good.

  • Monsters are unapologetically¬†monsters.¬†This was such a breath of fresh air. Werewolves… vampires… in fiction they’re often given more human characteristics¬†which makes¬†it easy to forget that they’re monsters. But in this book, you never forget. This is because they aren’t humans turned into [insert animal/supernatural creature of choice here], but they’re creatures who saw the value of learning a human form. They possess the very same instincts of their ancestors for hunting and killing. Sure, humans know of their existence and they live¬†among them, but this doesn’t mean their diet has completely changed. Humans are¬†allowed in the Courtyard because the Others make their business through them, but human law doesn’t apply inside. Someone tries to steal a book from the bookstore? Your hand gets chomped off by the Wolf on guard. Do it again? The next day, “Special Meat” will be sold at the butcher’s. When humans enter the Courtyard, they must accept the risks. This point is driven early on in the book, on page 18, through a scene where humans trespassing at night are promptly attacked and eaten. No fuss. Just how it is.
  • Cooperation between different Others species. Another breath of fresh air. Werewolves and vampires are usually pitted against each other in fiction but in this novel, they cooperate. Not just them, but all the Others. Makes sense, seeing as humans are their only real enemy, and sticking together gives them a better chance at survival.
  • No romance. *Gasp*. I KNOW RIGHT?! Vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, a female protagonist…. that pretty much guarantees super sexy, angsty romance, right? Wrong! I was so happy. Obviously, in the blurb, it’s hinted that we may eventually get this in the next two books, but Written In Red was all about developing the characters, the setting, and the relationships between characters. Those relationships unfold so organically that I would be 100% down with any romantic fluff come book two.
No sparkly, “vegan” vampires here.
  • Fun abounds.¬†Despite the dark tone of this novel, there are fun little moments that made me laugh out loud. Like a human employee trying to explain to a Crow working the register that yes, she knows the coins are shiny, but she must always give the human customers the right change. And¬†a male vampire trying to figure out if it was appropriate to talk to a human woman about periods. And that gag with the Wolves’ chewy toy (read the book!). Also, there are wonderful, terrifying magical ponies.

Overall, I¬†highly¬†recommend this book. As I’ve mentioned before, it does have some dark aspects, but I felt that beneath it all, there was also something very human and encouraging about the story. If there’s anything else that I think people might not like, it’s that there’s a lot of description of Meg working as the Human Liaison. Some might¬†find it tedious, but I think Anne used it well to develop her character.

Super excited to read the next book, Murder of Crows!

Library Book Haul!

On Saturday, I went to the library and picked up some books. As you may have noticed by the selection, I’m taking a sort-of-break from YA. The books are:

  • Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Touch by Claire North
  • Written in Red by Anne Bishop
  • The Routledge Handbook of Scripts and Alphabets by George L. Campbel and Christopher Moseley

Afterworlds is still YA, but I’m planning on reading that after getting through the others on this list. I’m currently reading The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater and I just feel like if I read another YA book, I might explode.

Last Thursday, I also had unplanned purchases at Dymocks which I tweeted about.

Yeah… still kind of in shock with the purchase but also happy because¬†I’ve wanted to read these books for such a long time:

Dymocks purchase 040615
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and the first two books of the Watch pentatology by Sergei Lukyanenko.

Looking forward to dig into all these goodies!