Seeking Saturday's Read #14: On Christmas-fying the Blog, Half-Clothed Waiters and the Joy(ful pain) of Sales

Saturday, 29 November 2014

This week has been a mess of me trying to get my life back together, overindulging on green tea kit kats and work. I'm in the process of getting my sleeping pattern back on track but the fact is, getting home late each night just doesn't help. By the time I catch up with the day's events, blog hop for a tad, publish a post, it's edging on midnight. Not to mention, I like to talk for hours and I often lose track of time by standing under the doorway and chattering on about god knows what to anyone that will listen. But hey, it's getting better now. 

I also focused this week heavily on christmas preparations. Australia has busted out its christmas spirit; we've constructed our lego christmas tree, placed up all the lights and decorations and we're even doing light shows each night, accompanied by a choir belting out carols. All that's missing is the whole "white christmas" idea, but with us folk in the Southern hemisphere it's all about the least amount of clothing you can wear to beat the heat, all the while appearing rather appropriate for public. It gets intense in summer. 

I also had my work christmas party this week and I'm just going to be sweet and composed here and say: food served by shirtless waiters. I was surrounded by co-workers fanning themselves (I was professional, obviously). Lots of flirting. We're a fun lot. 

And with all these Christmas lead up sales, I've been going crazy. Mostly on spoiling myself which is probably not the best. But hey, I've pretty much cleaned up my list of to buys so I'm on track. Plus, gifting is a process that should involve everyone, right? So it seems justifiable if I buy myself a couple of presents. Or at least that's been my excuse for the past week. Don't dispute it. Let me have this. 

I managed to polish off Vicious this week which I adored to bits and pieces. I have a review coming up on Monday and let's just say, I get a tad philosophical. In fact, I'm not too sure that I actually know what I'm going on about but let's just pretend that I'm going somewhere with my vague statements. I'm potentially suffering from a book hangover. It was that good

Seeing as December rolls in this Monday, I've decided to crack out My True Love Gave To Me and give it a real read. I'll be honest, I got into Christmas spirit a tad early this year and have sneakily peeked at one or two stories. They were alright. Cute, in the holiday season sense. But on their own, I'm not really a big fan. Hopefully the rest of the stories impress me (highly unlikely. I feel like an onlooker when I read them. I'm completely detached.) 

I will hint at a Christmas takeover on the blog from December and onwards. This is my favourite holiday season and I get dramatic (as I blast my Neil Diamond carols and wear my santa earrings). There's holiday post each week. I've been a fantastic organiser (depending on how you see it, I could have made a horrendous mistake and marked things ahead without checking the surety of the dates or I could be an organisation queen.) Ideally I'll be set from now up until March but we'll see. 

So that's me in a week. Tell me about you. How was Thanksgiving, my dear American friends? And how many bank accounts will be making it through Black Friday and Cyber Monday unscathed? Or do we all have weak resolves like me? Tell me everything. 

Why Am I So Eloquent In Negative Reviews?

Thursday, 27 November 2014

So I’ve been thinking lately (oh Jess, have you really? Do tell), which has led to some profound realisations (for example, I enjoy a good hyperbole but perhaps that is common knowledge.) The point is, I've come to terms with a truth: I elucidate with greater clarity in negative reviews. 
Which is a tad odd, is it not? In theory, should I not be fantastically analytical as I attempt to persuade you to read something that I’ve given my heart and soul to? Passion fuels creativity, does it not? So why does my passion resemble word vomit; no start and no end, just a puddle of muddled feelings smushed together under the guise of semi-decent reviewing.

If You're Searching For Veronica Mars, She Lives On. In Print.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Publication Date: ANZ November 19th 2014 / Elsewhere March 25th 2014
Publisher: Allen & Unwin / Vintage 
Purchase: Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Booktopia / Bookworld
Goodreads Summary: Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.
Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person's case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined. 

(aka Jess gets all emotional about her favourite childhood show) 

Seeking Saturday's Read #13: What Became of Juicing, Christmas Hoarding and Devouring Villains

Sunday, 23 November 2014

So I'm technically typing this in the last ten minutes of Saturday but hey, it's Saturday elsewhere in the world, right? That's my excuse every single time. Alright, I know you're all dying to hear of what became of that juice detox. It was pretty sweet. As in, it was sweet that I made it. The juices, however, were not sweet. In fact, it was, to put it nicely: rank. I've learnt some extraordinary things that I'll file away for life in this week alone. Like, for example, one should not juice mass amounts of kale and celery together and only add two oranges (you're welcome, I was your guinea pig.) But other than that, it's been rather enlightening. I may even go in for a second week. I do love the aftertaste of celery (oh yes, it's one that can't be washed down by any liquid. It lingers, an absolute leech.) 

After a rather unproductive reading week (I prioritised life and organisation), I'm back and am insanely pumped to dive into my holiday season TBR. You see, I've been hoarding books for Christmas. Half of me fears life getting in the way and thus my path to the bookstore being rather blocked, while the other half (which is probably the real reason) is just conscious of shipping date cutoffs. Either way, I'm being proactive and it's taking all my resolve not to touch the December pile. You may have also noticed that the blog has become rather Christmas spirited. Yes, I'm quite the Christmas fan and couple that with an impulsive tendency and certain things just evolve. 

I'm hoping to finally get Vicious ticked off my pile of To-Reads. I'm insanely excited to crack into this one. I do love a villainous tale and Schwab seems to please many. I'm doing the one thing that everyone cautions against: hyping the book up. I've got expectations and I want them to be blown away. We'll see. I'm also currently reading Killer Instinct and the Criminal Minds vibe is strong. I have no complaints because it's insanely well researched and entertaining. Just what I needed. 

Technically the salad was my dinner. I'm super fun, right? After late lunching before catching Mockingjay (which was relatively engrossing. Not a love though, unfortunately) the best option was to grab a salad and consume it at 10pm. Obviously I've got a great grasp on time nowadays. My internal clock is not exactly attuned to reality right now. I've got to get on that. 

You know the drill: forget me and tell me about you. How was your week and what's in it for your upcoming one? Has anyone caught Mockingjay yet? And is anyone feeling the Christmas pressure and hoarding away books for the holiday season? 

The Starbound Trilogy #2: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Friday, 21 November 2014

Publication Date: ANZ November 19th 2014 / Elsewhere December 23rd 2014 
Publisher: Allen and Unwin / Disney Hyperion 
Purchase/Preorder: Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Booktopia / Bookworld
Goodreads Summary: Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

The stunning second novel in the Starbound trilogy is an unforgettable story of love and forgiveness in a world torn apart by war.

(aka Jess applauds the trilogy for breaking into a darker territory) 

Is There Such A Thing as Being Turned Off By A Character's Quirks?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

I don’t know about you but I can be a tad obsessive over trivial details. You see, there’s a certain amount of things that I’ve got mentally blacklisted within my brain when it comes to the reading experience. Odd traits, sentences and character quirks. They all get the x factor (and not the one that promises success either) in my books. I also do this horrendous thing where I read ahead as I flip the page. It’s not a contest and god knows who I’m competing with but as soon as my finger turns to a fresh page, my eyes immediately divert to the end of the page, as though I'm desperate to be that kid who knows just a little bit more than everyone else. Most of the time I just seek out plot spoilers but often I see a thing or two that I’m not too happy about. Like the mention of toes, something along the lines of "he had an odd big toe that was a tad crooked".

You see, stuff like that disgusts me (and no, I’m not bothered by what you want to do with your own feet. I just don’t want to read about it.) And suddenly the whole mood is gone. I begin to feel lethargic, un-energised and just down right turned off. 

Seeking Saturday's Read #12: Detoxing, Time Management and Finding a New Darkling

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Now that life's really kicked in, I find that I have a lot less time. Which is odd because, theoretically, I have a lot more time on my hands. But while the education aspect of my life will be toned down for the next two to three months, I've found that all other components of my life have truly turned up a notch. I used to have plentiful amounts of time to read because I knew what I could sacrifice. Nothing is defined in my life now and it's hard to know which part is the easiest to give up. So obviously I go for the default: sleep. I mean, I was shelving books from midnight up until two am the other day, just because it struck my fancy. I think I need to work on my need for balance. Perhaps that should be next week's goal? 

I'm also back in the kitchen, full force. I whipped up dinner last night and my household and I were all holding our breaths until morning when we were relieved upon the realisation that we'd all made it through, unscathed. That's right, my cooking is now deemed relatively safe (they all have so much faith in me.) Granted, the dish was 3:1 cheese and so I didn't really do much but let's not get technical about this. 

That being said, I'm now on a juice detox. What a complete 360 turnaround, right? Just yesterday I was consuming carbs like it was my last meal on earth and today I'm downing spinach and kale (ew) and all types of things that should not be pulverised. Let's see how it turns out. This one was relatively on the drinkable side but I'm experimental and that often goes wrong. 

Before I mention the book in the photograph, I'm going to have to give a special shoutout to Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios. There won't be a review on the blog but I do have quite a relatively in-depth one up on Goodreads. In short, despite it's controversiality, I adored this one. As a piece of fantasy, it was great. Perhaps a tad on the complex and ambitious side (as in, the info dumps were a tad strong) but man, oh man, it was a captivating read. I will say this: for those who have been searching for a character to fill the void that was the Darkling, this is the one you want. Malek oozes the same enigmatic magnetism. And what truly makes this one a winner is the fact that the abusive relationship is free from romanticism. That's special. Abuse is abuse and Demetrios recognises this. 

If you remember a little line from last week's post, I muttered something about being in a rather contemporary romance mood, all the while feeling completely cynical about love. That has not changed. The Statistical Probability of Falling In Love is sweet and whatnot but my eyes are rolling all over the place. It's so cute to the point where I want to barf at times. That's a beautiful image, isn't it? Why I love this feeling, I suppose I'll never know. I've got to calm down with the masochistic tendencies. Truly. 

So that's pretty much me in a week. Tell me about you and yours. What's in it for your next week? And tell me all about your staple dishes and juice combinations! 

The Mara Dyer Trilogy: Let's Look at the Bigger Picture.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Author: Michelle Hodkin 
Publication Dates (Respectively): 2011, 2012, 2014 
Goodreads Summary #1: Mara Dyer believes life can't get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can. She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed. 
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. 
She's wrong.
(All the stars because I have two passions in life and it's this and The Raven Cycle) 

I thought I'd shake things up around here. We're going in for a series review rather than a single review. Spoilers are to the discretion of the reader. As in, we all view spoilers differently. I don't believe I spoil anything (at least not any major plot points) but this is honestly up to you. 

Is the Happily Ever After Purely About Romance or Does It Really Just Want Justice?

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Let’s pretend that today’s a Friday and we're doing a flashback to the aesthetic liberty discussion that I brought to life a couple of weeks back. It’s key here, as today I’m expanding it a tad. This has been a topic that has plagued my mind for exactly a week and what better way to lay my troubled soul to rest than to pour it all out onto the internet. 

In said discussion, many of you mentioned a favouring for the Happily Ever After (HEA). I, not so much but I can understand the appeal. After investing in a set of charactersespecially in our day and age where trilogies, quartets and those that go beyond the grouping names that I actually know, rule the world of Young Adult literaturewe can’t help but desire a closed, peaceful ending for them. They’ve earned it, some may say. The trials and tribulations must surely have a worth? But it got me thinking, while this Happily Ever After is deeply desired, what is the requisite? What are the key elements to a successful happy ending?  

As with most things in life, the HEA is interpreted by the individual. On the veneer, it would seem that HEAs exist when your two main characters find peace with one another; they’ve defeated their obstacles, defied the odds and in this moment, they're able to come together as one. What many don’t realise is, there often is the need for another element: justice.   

Seeking Saturday's Read #11

Saturday, 8 November 2014

That's right. After two months of psyching myself out whenever the desire to open up Heir of Fire arose, I've finally taken the plunge and began the reading process. Yes, I let the book stew on my shelf from the end of August up until now. Yes, I let myself grab other books, happily ignoring this one. Yes, I don't know why it took me this long either. The thing is, I'm kind of worried about the fact that I'm not in the right mental state for this one. What if I can't appreciate it? It sure looks hefty but hopefully buddy reading this one will force me to make it through. I will say this: whoever this Ashryver prince is, I want a piece of him. The unfortunate thing is, I don't think he makes an appearance for the rest of this beast so I'm a little bummed (yes, I googled it. I want motivation and he, my friend, is the perfect motivator.

I woke up today and said, Jess, today is the day you finally turn on the stove. I have this affliction where in conjunction to being caught by certain fits of hunger, I'm just permanently lazy. Which doesn't mesh well because in order to sate the hunger, I've got to actually take action. Now that I've turned a leaf into this new life of mine, I'm finally cooking again. Small things. Like my cheesy scrambled eggs (which probably have to be worked off with a long, long run. Tomorrow, I promise.) The stone fruit obsession lives on. I may or may not have consumed five apricots today. 

In retrospect, my past week has been relatively uneventful. I'm falling into a cycle and shopping has become quite a dominant component. Which allows me momentary happiness, sure, but in the long run, am I truly satisfied? Or am I overthinking it? Just shop, Jess. Don't think. That's the voice that runs through my head and I happily oblige. Don't question, just do (not the best mentality, might I note.) 

My next week, however, is quite exciting. My graduation formal has finally rolled by and it's one of the last times where my year congregates with false happiness (I say false because, let me tell you, we are not all about the hugs and kisses but come big events, something artificial turns on in all of us and it's like we're a bunch of best friends.) But hey, it's pretty dresses and fake tears and I'm all for that. 

I've got a couple of exciting reads planned for the upcoming weeks but it's just a matter of finding time. I'm still in the aftermath of my "exam contemporary kick" so I've been a little desperate for fluff. That being said, I've been particularly cynical about love as of late. What a combination. We'll see what arises from that. 

Have you got anything planned for next week? What about your relationship with the stove--besties or mortal enemies? And false happiness--have you experienced it or am I just a part of something completely messed up? 

The Bookshelf Tag

Friday, 7 November 2014

It's been a long time coming. That should be my general opening when it comes to tags. A while ago, the lovely Emily from The Looney Teen Writer tagged me for the Bookshelf Tag. Naturally, I'm not exactly on time. But what is it they say? Better late than never! 

So I kind of cheated by not showing you my bookshelf in its entirety. It's because I'm a natural mess and so I've  attempted to create this virtual persona who is quite neat and tidy. What you get to see is this contrived segment as opposed to the messy bigger picture. How authentic. Can I just say, I'm so bothered by the fact that my Ruin and Rising is not sitting with the two other books. I think I placed it there because I was attempting this blue, red and black shelf for the dramatics but that didn't exactly work out. The plant is plastic, by the way. My green thumb took a turn for the worst and has become a rotten yellow. I'm a plant murderer. And so now I'm a collector of plastic trees and succulents. 

Without further ado, let's get this show on the road. 

The Authors of 2015 Releases Have Officially Infiltrated My Diary of Favourite Tropes

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

I've spent the second half of 2014 pining over 2015 releases and I've curated quite the list. I've pounced onto most, if not all, the new releases set to be released into the world next year. I want them all. And I'm terribly overwhelmed. 

For those of you who wander onto my little corner of the internet quite often, you'd know that I'm hovering in the limbo months between the end of high school and the start of university. So I've got plentiful bounties of time. And what do I do with it (apart from the days where I have do my "adult" duties)? I make copious amounts of lists. For everything. And, most importantly, for 2015 release dates, like I did yesterday. Which lead me to realise a common trend: most of these books sound as though they've been catered to me. You're probably wondering, what are you on, Jess?

Well here's the thing. There are certain things that can win me over in a heartbeat. But my loves have been uncommon, especially in the recent years. So you've got to stick with me here when I tell you that I was legitimately shocked when I realised that so many things fell into my list of loves. Most of you enjoyed the peek at my hell to the no's list, but have you ever wondered what was on the read now, think later list? Let me enlighten you: 

1. Organised Crime Syndicates (don't ask. Years ago I went through this online fiction thing where I ate up some quality stuff. Why they're not published is beyond me because I've read some beautiful things. As in the writing, not the morbid themes.) 
2. All things stemming from religious conspiraciesà la Da Vinci Code. I'm not religious myself but I'm terribly intrigued by them. 
3. I like Embassies, diplomatic relations, and political ploys. No idea why. 
4. Things that are inspired by National Treasure (my favourite Disney movie. Now if only they'd make that third one.) Oh, and I suppose con artists and thieves fall under this category as well. 
5. Tales that hold the essence of Sherlock Holmes, or otherwise known as mysteries in general. And I suppose thrillers. 
6. The good ol' retribution trope.

The Darkest Minds #3: In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

Monday, 3 November 2014

Publication Date: October 28th 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion / HarperCollins AUS
Purchase: Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Booktopia / Bookworld 
Goodreads Summary: Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds. 

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

(Jess got caught in the moment and had an ugly cry, which is tricky because that element attempts to conceal the fault.) 

Seeking Saturday's Read #10

Saturday, 1 November 2014

It's officially November. That scares me. It's about two months until Christmas and I'm fully prepared. I have half of my presents bought, the other half are categorised into organised lists. I'm getting my room all cheery for the holiday season. I've cracked out my special Christmas playlist. As you can see, I get a tad excited. 

Obviously you all should know, I'm now exam free. That's right. High school is all over. I'm now drifting by in this limbo where I'm neither this nor that. I should probably relax but being shoved into this whole new world where I have no obligations (ha ha, except for the times where I have to "adult" now) is scary. What do I do with all my time? 

I should probably be reading. In fact, I am. But slowly. I've had In The Afterlight on the "currently reading" for nearly a week now. I don't know what's wrong with me. I read at an exponential rate but with Bracken, I'm always stumped. It took me a week for the first two books as well. And it's not like it's terribly boring because it's not (wow, I'm eloquent today, aren't I?). But there's something about The Darkest Minds that is just so heavy and it bogs me down. Too much happens all the time, even when nothing is happening (have I lost it? That doesn't make sense but to me it does.) The point is, while I'm enjoying it, I feel no desire to waste sleep on it. It doesn't drive me crazy when I set the book down. 

Explain the peaches? It's stone fruit season. I've got a fridge full of peaches and nectarines and berries. And despite being Spring, the weather thinks that it's Summer already and I'm going out and sweating everyday. 

So what do I plan to do with my new found time? I'm roaming around like a lost soul, to be honest. Ha! I kid. I am employed and that does take up my time but other than that, I've got a lot of time for reading, a TBR that is above my head and a lazy mindset that suddenly can't be bothered for anything. I'm just the best, aren't I? Snap out of it, Jess. 

How did your week treat you? What are you reading and what's do you have in mind for next week? And tell me, what's the consensus on Christmas tunes? Are we for or against?