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Monday, 22 August 2011

Aussie August Review: A Pocketful of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson



                                                    Title: A Pocketful of Eyes
Author: Lili Wilkinson
Released: 12 April 2011
Source: Boomerang Books
Reviewed by: Sapphired Dragon

Sapphired Dragon rating : ***
Purchase: Boomerang Books | The Book Depository

Synopsis ( via Goodreads):
Bee is in her element volunteering in the taxidermy department at the Museum-but her summer job turns out to be full of surprises including: A dead body in the Red Rotunda. A mysterious Museum benefactor. A large stuffed tiger in the catacombs. A handsome boy with a fascination for unusual animal mating habits. And a pocket full of glass eyes. Can Bee sift through the clues and discover if her colleague committed suicide or if there's a murderer in their midst?
Review:


Beatrice Ross is a teenager with a love of mystery novels working in the taxidermy department of the Natural History Department. When her supervisor Gus dies and his death called a suicide, Bea who is certain Gus didn't kill himself decides it is up to to find the real killer and save the day.

What follows is a simple straightforward detective story, compete with clues to pic up ala the formula of a typical mystery novel. In fact this is intended as Wilkinson plays with this theme throughout the novel poking fun at it all the while her main charater is obbserving each stage of the mystery as if she was in a mystery novel herself.

The main character Bea is likeable, smart and funny. A lover of mystery novels, she is also observing a secene and drawing conclusions and investigating every person she believes should be under suspicion for Gus' death.

The Watson to her Sherlock and love interest,  I didn't get as much as a handle on. He seemed sweet and full of extremely strange animal facts but I couldn't quite believe in him as such and found some parts of his character a little bit over the top.

On the whole though the story itself was well paced, keeping me interested at all times and also a lot of fun. There might be a few holes in the plot line but tone of the novel and the freshness of the voice mean you are willing to ignore these in favour of just enjoying a light, fresh story that shines brightly in a genre where dark and paranormal have most recently taken hold.

An enjoyable and fun read.


Sapphired Dragon xx 

 

Don't forget to check out more Aussie August posts here

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Aussie August - Guest Post from Kim Falconer

 Welcome to Day 19 of Aussie August.  Hope you are enjoying the different authors and books that have been featured so far.

Today we welcome Kim Falconer, author of the Quantum Enchantment series: The spell of Rosette, Arrows of Time and Strange Attractors  and the Quantum Encryption series: Path of the Stray, Road to the Soul and Journey by Night.

Kim has kindly offered to guest post on a pet subject of hers: World building and creating new life.  I hope you enjoy and don't forget to comment and let Kim know what you think.

Creating Souls from Scratch

The inspiration for Road to the Soul came to me three years ago. It was like a match strike, lit by my publisher Stephanie Smith from HarperCollins Voyager wasn’t looking for ideas at the time or even thinking new characters. Far from it!


Stephanie and I were going over the ‘proof reader queries’ for my first novel, The Spell of Rosette. It’s a gruelling process of discussing the copyedit questions like ‘do you want this to be a pub or a tavern . . . a cobblestone road or a cobblestone drive . . .’ ‘Rosette’ was nearly ready to print, save for these scribbles and marks still waiting in the margins. We got to page 131, a moment in the story where Rosette stops to collect herself after a panic attack. She sits under a jade statue of a Were-fey, a winged serpent-like creature leaping out of an ‘angry’ sea.

Steph asked, ‘Kim, why is the sea angry?’
I said, ‘Because it surrounds the Southern Continent which is . . .’ I had to think. ‘In trouble . . .’


‘Really?’ Steph was interested. ‘What kind of trouble?’
‘Big,’ I said to HarperCollins Voyager’s Associate
Publisher. ‘Big, big trouble.’ I couldn’t elaborate. It was all I
had.


‘I see . . . will it appear in future books? This Southern
Continent?’ she wanted to know.

Pause for match strike. ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘It will!’
And that was it. The story of the lost Southern Continent and a
magical Were-fey named Quillian had begun.

In the end, the Were-fey statue at Treeon Temple wasn’t
depicted in a roiling sea, but the story had gotten a foothold


and there was no stopping it. The deeper answer to the question—‘Why is the sea angry?’—is now answered in the Road to the Soul and one jade Were-fey has come to life in full
Technicolor.


Were-fey are amazing creatures and like most of my ideas, they began with a grain of truth. I wanted to portray a sentient, non-human being with a sharp mind, agile body and Shakespearian wit. This Were-fey had to be adept in four elements--land, sea, air, and time. He had to be special too, so I made him the last of his kind.
I also wanted him to have a very good memory so I reached pretty far back in the evolution
of life for his DNA. In the swamps of primordial Earth, I
found Archaeopterx, the Greek name for ‘ancient wing’
and the perfect reference for the Were-fey. This first ‘bird’
was a sharp toothed, claw-winged, feathered dinosaur
that lived in the late Jurassic period, 150 million years
ago.

With this image I mixed in the Bird of Paradise for a
brilliant plumage and the Loon for underwater grace and
fishy appetite. Thus was born Quillian, a perpetually
hungry, telepathic, highly vocal risk taker, bonded to the
young apprentice Tryn and the pivot on which Road to the Soul
turns.

I had a very clear picture of Quillian in my mind but it wasn’t until my cover artist, Aaron Briggs, interpreted the depictions that I trusted readers would see him vividly as well. I hope they continue to engage with this character
as book two in Quantum Encryption unfolds its epic journey.

Much speculative fiction is full of ‘made-up’ creatures and environments from Tanith Lee’s Silver, Glenda Larke’s myriapedes, Karen Miller’s Vampire Butterflies and Mary Victoria’s World Tree. It’s one of the things I love most about this genre. What are some of your favourite ‘made up’ beings? What makes them so believable? I would love to hear about it.

Comments welcome.


Images

Road to the Soul by Kim Falconer. Cover illustration by my son, Aaron Briggs
http://www.harpercollins.com.au/books/Road-Soul-Quantum-Encryption-Bk-2-Kim-
Falconer/?isbn=9780732291402
Quillian protecting Tryn from a rogue Lupin, Path of the Stray (illustration by Aaron Briggs)
http://www.kimfalconer.com/aaronbriggs_coverart.html
Archaeopterx the ‘first bird’—a dino with feathers. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/
Loons and cormorants dive down to 45 metres! http://bwfov.typepad.com/
birders_world_field_of_vi/2007/07/underwater-loon.html
The beautiful Bird of Paradise by Tim Laman http://www.arkive.org/red-bird-of-paradise/
paradisaea-rubra/image-G72949.html

Don't forget there is still time to win a complete set of the Quantum Encryption series. Check out the give away here and find out what's been happening and what is still to come in Aussie August by checking the Aussie August Schedule of Events








Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Aussie August Giveaway: Win the entire Quantum Encryption series by Kim Falconer


Hope you are enjoying Aussie August so far and now we have out latest give away from  Kim Falconer, author of the Quantum Enchantment series: The spell of Rosette, Arrows of Time and Strange Attractors  and the Quantum Encryption series: Path of the Stray, Road to the Soul and Journey by Night.

The latest book in the Quantum Encryption series, Journey by Night is due out September 1st and you could be one of the first people to read it when you win this 3 book set of the Quantum Encryption series.

One lucky Aussie reader will win a physical set of all three books and Kim hasn't forgotten her international readers.  One lucky international reader will win a kindle version of the three books.

Pretty awesome yeah?

So, for you chance to win one of these awesome prizes here is what you need to do.

Fill out the form below ( yep that's it).  Giveaway finishes 11.59 pm AEST Wednesday 31st August 2011.

For an extra entry you can also tweet about this awesome giveaway.  You don't have to be a follower though it is always greatly appreciated

Don't forget to tune into the blog on August 19, when Kim will return with a guest post about World Building and Creating New Life.  This is one of Kim's favourite topics and there was even a panel about it at the recent Byron Bay Writers Festival so you don't want to miss it!

Lastly don't forget to visit the other awesome blogs participating in Aussie August.  For a list of all participating blogs and to find out all the goss visit http://aussieaugust.blogspot.com

Now on to the form:



Teaser Tuesday #12





Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays.


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too muchaway! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My current read is  Map of Time by Felix J Palma and my two lines are from page 410  :

"The white cord," explained the traveller, pointing at the master rope, " represents the original universe, the only one that existed before the travellers began meddling in the past.  The universe it is my task to protect."










Purchase:  Amazon | Book Depository | Boomerang Books




PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

In My Mailbox #13




Welcome to  In My Mailbox, a meme run by The Story Siren where each week over 200 bloggers post on their blogs the books they have bought, received to review or won in the past week.
To find out more information, get involved yourself or see what's in other bloggers mailboxes this week head over to The Story Siren or to find out what is in my mailbox this week, keep reading.
Don't forget to comment and post your IMM link or just let me know what's in your mail box this week










Photobucket


 Spellbound by Kelley Armstrong
Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren

Lots of exciting jumping around and squeeing (albeit silently as the other half was asleep at the time :P) when these arrived in my mailbox this week especially Spellbound as this was pre-ordered and I was waiting anxiously for it.  I am hoping my copy of waterfall arrives this week since obviously Cascade is the sequel :)

though check out what Kindle was sold for free this week:



Waterfall by Lisa T Bergren

Yup so I guess i can start reading :)

And...

If that wasn't enough,  just four days into the month I receive my first August R.A.K  from Alyssa from Alyssa's Bookshelf Check it out:




Abandon
Hereafter
Before I Fall
Delirium
Matched




























Abandon by Meg Cabot (e-book)
Hereafter by Tara Hudson (e-book)
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (e-book)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (e-book)
Matched by Ally Condie (e-book)

Awesome huh?  Thanks so much to Alyssa for such and awesome R.A.K and also to Vanessa and Isalys from Book Soulmates for running such an great idea as R.A.K (Random Acts of Kindness for those unfamiliar)

Don't forget to enter my passion giveaway for you chance to win a signed copy of either Fallen or Passion.  Just 4 days left!  And stay posted for a guest post and give away from Kim Falconer.

So what was in your mailbox this week?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Review: End of the Night Girl by Amy T Matthews

 


Title: End of the Night Girl
Author: Amy T Matthews
Released: May 2011
Source: Boomerang Books Early Critics Club
Reviewed by: Sapphired Dragon
Sapphired Dragon rating : ** 1/2



Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Molly, a sassy waitress, is haunted by the ghost of a murdered Polish Jew. Two novels, each a compelling page-turner, combine teasingly in one as End of the Night Girl explores the shadow cast by the Holocaust across decades, continents and cultures.
 
Review:
When I read the the above synopsis before requesting the book, I think i expected somehting other than what I got.  I like the idea of two novels combining into one but to be honest I am not quite sure Matthews achieved this. Sure there were two different stories going on but I didn't quite get the way they came together and as a reader felt that the destination was not necessarily worth the journey to get there.

For a start, some strong language in the first chapter nearly stopped me going any further and while the two stories by themselves were interesting enough, I was by no means hooked at any stage.  I would read pleasantly until i came to a natural stop (i.e. i had to get of the train or bus, or my lunch break finished) but never felt compelled to jump straight back in and see what happened next.  I really had to make myself continue.

The biggest issue I had was that I felt the main story (the one set in the here and now) didn't really go anywhere and the other story was too disconnected really to follow all the time, no matter how interesting the excerps were and the connection between the two seemed to me flimsy at best.  I think if i was to discuss this book in an english class or on a forum etc then I might be able to make some more connections and find more from the story but purely as a reader, the conclusion left me feeling immensely unsatisfied.

While this story was not my cup of tea, if you are a fan of Australian literature set in the  present, or  then you may enjoy this book. For me however, unfortunately I could only give it 2 1/2 stars.


Sapphired Dragon xx



Purchase:   Book Depository | Boomerang Books


Head to http://aussieaugust.blogspot.com/ to check what else is happening with Aussie authors this month