Monday, 31 October 2011

Elsewhere - my book review

Elsewhere is where 15-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different from it. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?
This is the most poignant, amazing book that I have ever read this year. It was an emotional roller coaster, which made me feel depressed, elated, adrensalised and frustrated in all the right places. We follow Liz's life... or rather, her death, and how she copes, along with all the bumps and bruises that come along with her passing.

There were so many right things about this book. Although the style of narrative seemed a bit clumsy and tense at first, I got used to it by the time I reached the third or so chapter. I did personally think that this story would be told much better if it was in first-person perspective, but it doesn't really matter an awful much.

I liked the characters featured in this book, especially Alvy. Little did I think that he'd play a rather large part in Elsewhere. He made my heart fuzzy with warmth and every time he was mentioned, I smiled. Alvy was the only person who listened; he is the connection. I cannot say anything more than that.

The dogs in this book were particularly amusing. It is true once you think about it though, that humans do not truly know about canines and their feelings. If our dogs in real life were like the ones in Elsewhere, I would rather be friends with them than anyone or anything else in the world.

The end of this book was very sad, even though I knew it was coming. (view spoiler)

Finally, I see Elsewhere as a cross between The Lovely Bones and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. Elsewhere deals with a tasteful balance of themes such as loss, death, waiting, love and reunion. 

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When I read this, I picture:
When I read this, I remember:
“There's the tree with the branches that everyone sees, and then there's the upside-down root tree, growing the opposite way. So Earth is the branches, growing in opposing but perfect symmetry. The branches don't think much about the roots, and maybe the roots don't think much about the branches, but all the time, they're connected by the trunk, you know?” 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“People, you'll find, aren't usually all good or bad. Sometimes they're just a little bit good and a whole lot bad. And sometimes they're mostly good with a dash of bad. And most of us, well, we fall in the middle somewhere.” 

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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Just Listen - my book review

Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything" — at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf's Department Store. This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help,maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends...
True Rating: 4.5

This was a captivating read which held me until the very last moment. It is one of the best realistic romance fictions I have ever read (normally I'm not a big fan of them at all).

Have you ever enviously watched that 'perfect' girl endlessly, studying her looks and wondering why, and how, she has it all? That perfect girl could very well be Annabel Greene.

But then something happens. And the fact that she is perfect can only be questioned.

Throughout the first half of the novel, I was hooked on finding out what happened to Annabel. Although the answer to this is not inconspicuous, I still highly savoured finding out the before, after and now. The way which what happened is revealed is very similar to Speak. The revelation catches you without warning, giving an effective and certainly bewildered reaction to the reader.

Now to Annabel herself. I found her slightly annoying, with her unrevealing and naive ways. But I totally appreciate the way Sarah Dessen has painted her. I can sometimes relate to Annabel, feeling overwhelmed and timid, unable to speak out on what you really want to say. I do not see this as a fault; instead, I see this as a small wrinkle which can be ironed out.

If you're into Sarah Dessen novels, or looking out for a book dealing with common teen issues, then I highly recommend that you pick up Just Listen. It was a compelling and surprisingly finger-licking good read.

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When I read this, I pictured:
When I read this, I remembered:
"Like a word on a page that you’ve printed and read a million times, that suddenly looks strange or wrong, foreign. And you feel scared for a second, like you’ve lost something, even if you’re not sure what it is."

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Thursday, 27 October 2011

What Lauren Read Next (after Just Listen)


I need your help once again!!! I have almost finished reading Just Listen, and I have no idea what to pick next to read. (and I like making forms, hehehehe...)

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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Unlock Me

Did you know that aside from reading, I also love writing stories as well?
I have started to write a story/book. I have no idea where it'll be heading, but I need your help.
I will be forever grateful if you could visit this link and read my chapter. Comment on it, like it, share it... do whatever! But try to check it out! :)



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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Shopping 4 Books


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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Shiver - my book review

the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—
her wolf—watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace...until now.
the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human—and Grace must fight to keep him—even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.
Well. Can I say this was one of the most boring books I've read this year? Perhaps I just need to work on my resilience and patience, but I seriously could not suffer for any longer. And I didn't even get halfway.

Shiver had my short-lived attention for the first several chapters, but my apathy turned into distaste once Sam turned into a human. It was the non-realistic romance which got me.

Here are just a few of the problems I came across within the first sixth of the book:
1. Who falls in love with a wolf?
2. Who depends on the eyes to tell who the person/creature is?
3. Is it really necessary to have that overused "parents-gone-AWOL" gig?
4. I have never heard of, nor thought of the possibility that anyone would invite someone they've known for half a day to sleep in their bed. Unless they're drunk or on drugs or something.
5. A kiss after a day of knowing someone. Not possible once again unless the individual is drunk or on drugs. Or has a mental disorder.

Since this was such a boring book, is it fair that I have written a boring review?





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Friday, 21 October 2011

Your Opinion Wanted!


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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Poetry Slam!

Inspired by Carla from The Crooked Bookshelf, and finding about this whole craze via Jessie's Remarkable Reads, I have decided to create my own bookspine Poetry Slam! It's quite short (I am momentarily on a shortage of books), but alas, here it is:
A Great and Terrible Beauty was
Once upon a time
Forgotten, but not very long after transformed into

not one, but many Dangerous Games
beginning from an inexorable Delirium.


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Friday, 14 October 2011

A.N.T Goes Mobile!

I am very pleased to announce that A Novella's Tale is now mobile-friendly! Yes, that's right! No more waiting for the page to load for a decade, or not being able to read that super-cool font... If you have an iPhone or a smartphone, the blog will look slightly different from the normal one, but you don't need to worry, because it's still the same blog, just with a different look :) Anyway, enjoy!
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100 Follower Giveaway @ B,B&T

Vicky, from the AWESOME blog Books, Biscuits and Tea, has opened a 100 Followers Giveaway! 2 winners get to select a book they want each. Better yet... it's international! So whaddaya waiting for?

Books, Biscuits and Tea

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Thursday, 13 October 2011

90 Packets of Instant Noodles - my book review

Combining an engaging and confrontational story about growing up with a twist of adventure, this novel centers on Joel and Craggs, two loyal friends who drink together, commit robbery together, and, when Craggs turns violent, face the consequences together as well. When Joel's dad finally makes a deal with the cops, his son ends up in solitary confinement while Craggs is sent off to juvenile detention. Contending that the past is never truly buried, this tale portrays the influence of peer pressure on teenagers and both the positive and dangerous choices they must face.
This was unexpectedly a very good book! It was recommended to me from a bookish friend, but I wasn't first. Funnily enough, she recommended it to many of her other friends, but they politely declined to read it. Well, I can tell you, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with this book! So you should try it out!

Since Joel Strattan became best mates with Craggs, he has done nothing but break the rules and be bad. But is there a side of him that can be scrubbed out and polished clean? Is this even possible? After being sentenced with ninety days banishment from civilisation, Joel finally gets a chance to rethink his life. And to eat 90 packets of instant noodles.

I loved the theme of finding yourself and change. Although the change in Joel was generally subtle, you could tell in the big picture that he'd matured in a great way. Plonk Joel next to Craggs and you can see that for yourself.

I particularly enjoyed reading the letters that Joel received from Bella. His genuine love and care for her was heart-warming. Just looking at their relationship, you can tell that Joel has a soft, fluffy side to him. Normally, I wouldn't be able to realise, or even know, that teenage delinquents could be so kind to the ones they love. It shows that people aren't really what you think.

The final thing that I loved about 90 Packets of Instant Noodles is that the story is set in Australia! If you have read Stolen: A letter to my captor though, the part of Australia in this book is different from it. 90 Packets of Instant Noodles is set in the less harsher area of Western Australia, which can be slightly less arid. Anyway, I don't often come across books set in Australia. Although, the author of this book, Deb Fitzpatrickis Aussie, so this makes sense.

Oh, and finally, one last note. (This is what my friend warned me before I borrowed the book.) There is a lot of swearing. And when I say a lot, I really do mean a lot. So if you're one of those people who loathe bad language, then you probably shouldn't touch this book ;)


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When I read this, I picture:
When I read this, I remember:
"Obviously, I did once believe in the notion of forever-and-ever-amen, and obviously there are some things I can say 'always' to, or 'I promise' -- like loving my son or mowing my lawn. But in reality, I don't believe that it's possible to project how you will feel, in, say, twenty years' time, let alone in fifty or sixty."

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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Steve Jobs, Thank You

As a huge fan of Apple, I would like to take this time to say thank you to Steve Jobs. I was devastated when I found out the news.

Mr. Jobs, rest in peace. Even though you're gone, you're tremendously innovative and ingenious creations will stay with us forever. It is like we're carrying a piece of you whenever we tap away on our iPhone keyboards, or switch on our well-loved MacBooks.

If you are reading this, I would be very grateful if you could have one minute's silence.


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Interview With Gemma Malley

Gemma Malley is an author of The Declaration series, which focuses on the dystopian future. What would happen if humans could live forever?
Anyway, I was lucky enough to get the chance to interview the author herself!






Q. What inspires you to write your books?
Ideas inspire me. Once I have an idea that I know would make a great story, I just have to see it through. I love it when it all comes together. And I love it when people contact me to talk about my books. When you first write a book you never dream that people from all over the world will be finding your website and emailing your with comments or questions. It's really the most wonderful thing.

Q. If you had endless possibilities of promoting your books, which method would you choose?
I love the idea of billboards! I love stark messages that have real impact, that make people think...

Q. Do you think there's any chance that a 'longevity' drug will be ever produced and used?
You know, the more I read the more I think that something like Longevity will be produced one day. It probably won't let us live forever, but might extend life considerably...

Q. What are your thoughts on the cover of The Declaration?
I love the cover, especially the paperback. I am visually illiterate so always leave the ideas for covers with my publishers' creatives. So far I've loved what they've come up with!

Q. What is your favourite quote?
Ooh, tough one. Different quotes for different times. I love Virginia Woolfe's quote about every woman needing a room of their own... I also live by Winston Churchill's famous quote about what to do when everything is against you: 'Keep buggering on':)

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Size 12 is Not Fat - my book review

Size 12 Is Not Fat (Heather Wells, #1)Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Just wow. Who knew a book with a title of "Size 12 is Not Fat" could be so mind-blowing? I didn't know what to expect, but certainly nothing like this. Wow.

First of all, it is hilarious! Oh my god, it made me laugh a lot. Heather Wells is this loveable, bumbling overweight average weight former teen pop star. As Rachel says, she is just so nice. Everyone wants to be her friend. Reading this book in first-person perspective is very effective. If it was told in third, then there is no way I would shelve this book under comedy. But Heather herself, with her somewhat distracting side-commentary, gives you a first-class view of what her view of the world is like. And, wow, is it a meticulous one.

The relationship (or should I say camaraderie) between Heather and Cooper is next. I don't want to reveal too much, but you can tell, from the very first time that Heather mentions Cooper, that she is head-over-heels in love with him. But as an audience member, it is obvious that this is an unrequited love. Heather sort of knows this too, but she's in denial, and will continue to imagine, ehm... *cough*ripping*cough*his*cough*clothes*cough*off*cough.

Looking back at the title of this book, what do you expect it to be about? A depressed, anorexic teen with weight management problems? Hm, not really. Not really at all. I can tell you this: It's about a murder mystery. Yep, you read it right. A murder mystery.

The final showdown is, should I say, side-splittingly hilarious. But epic at the same time. (And may I add that there's no knight in shining armour at the rescue? Just to put that out.) I can guarantee that you'll enjoy it, 'cos I did.

Now to the old-fashioned conclusion...

Throughout Heather's whole journey, I think she's has grown into a slightly more skeptical person: of herself and others. It's rewarding, seeing this woman with so little self-esteem and only the smallest shards of pride, seeing herself in a brighter light. Not to say that Size 12 Is Not Fat is those moralistic books that resemble self-help books and enlighten your understanding of the earth's existence, but it does show you that no matter what size you are, you're not fat you can change the world. Whether you take this literally or not literally, it doesn't matter.

Note: I'm putting Size 14 Is Not Fat Either on my to-read list, right now!




View all my reviews
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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Then - my book review

ThenThen by Morris Gleitzman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is seriously better than it's predecessor, Once, and certainly better than its sequel (that is so bad that I cannot remember its title).

It's extremely refreshing having the protagonists, Felix and Zelda, being much less naïve (than from the first book in the series). There's also much more action (whoop!) that takes place compared to Once.

My favourite character is probably the kind-hearted woman, Genia, who takes them in is inspiring and represents the giving Germans of the time of World War II. And, of course, her husband as well.

The ending of the story was awfully shocking. I was very, very close to crying (I have only cried from reading a book twice) and the outcome and conclusion of the story made me feel a bit dizzy afterwards.

I like how easily it flows on from Once. You could read both books one after another and not even be able to tell that they're separate. Meanwhile, the book that comes after this one focuses (very annoyingly) on a totally different storyline, with Felix's GRANDDAUGHTER as the narrator. And a terrible one she is, too.

I'm glad that this novel effectively opens reader's eyes to the real happenings and events of those dark times, and subtly weaves in some well-needed humour into it, too.




View all my reviews
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Prom - my book review

PromProm by Laurie Halse Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Truthfully, I can't think of much to say about this book, so here are a few dot-points instead:

I liked:
• the characters. Ashley made a very interesting protagonist, if a little unpredictable.
• the storyline. I have yet heard of a book also revolving around a prom.
• the witty satire. Laurie Halse Anderson has an excellent sense of humour, and never fails to make me laugh.
• the lack of exaggerated romance. It was refreshing to learn about Ashley and TJ's (troubled) relationship. It's hard to come across a young-adult novel that illustrates such a one-sided relationship so well, but at the same time, makes the experience of following the couple light-hearted and nonchalant.

I disliked:
• how Prom was not as in-depth as I had hoped. Personally, I think the author should stick with more pressing matters (like in Wintergirls and Speak). She has a great talent of getting serious issues across while keeping us, the readers, entertained.

To sum up, this is not the best book that I've read by Laurie Halse Anderson. But it's not the worst. If you're looking for a breezy book to read (particularly if you've got a prom coming up), this book is worth a try.

View all my reviews


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Harry Potter Houses

Due to all the hype leading up to the public release of Pottermore, I've decided to take a quiz to see which house I'll be sorted into. I wonder if it's right...? 
Anyway, apparently I am a...




Which house do YOU think you belong to? Or if you're a beta-tester, which house have you already been sorted into?


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