Sunday, August 23, 2015

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

This is first YA from Sophie Kinsella and it was pretty wonderful. I always have faith in a SK novel to deliver quality writing and characters, and that's what she's done. Finding Audrey was hilarious, hysterical, relatable and real. 

The story is about a girl who's been through an ordeal at school, something intense and bad and inexplicable. It's literally never explained what exactly happened. But it's left Audrey with a pretty awful case of anxiety, so much so that she needs therapy and wears sunglasses 24/7, in order to avoid eye contact with people, even her immediate family. Audrey never leaves the house and spends her days in a dark den with black-out curtains drawn.

It was so easy slipping into Audrey's shoes. Her story is incredibly relatable to me and as I read the book I felt almost UNeasy because I was empathising with Audrey so much. One of the things I loved most about this book is the family dynamic. Audrey has such an awesome family, and her mum provides a lot of the hysteria. Frank, Audrey's big brother, was hilarious and Felix, her baby bro, was so so sooo cute. I love them all so much but not just because of who they are (or how well their characters were written) but because of how they loved each other. 

There's a cute romance that sparks between Audrey and Lionel (Frank's friend). Lionel helps draw Audrey out of her dark place and back into the world. There were so many sweet moments between them, like the note-writing with Felix as their messenger, or when Lionel knew Audrey couldn't manage eye contact so he'd challenge her with things like shoe contact or thumb contact or knee contact. :) 

I'd rec Finding Audrey for anyone who likes Sophie Kinsella, teen reads and laughing, 

Rating: 4 stars

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Heart & the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

This book is like a golden nugget. 

I read it the first time, thought it was good, thought it was nice. Read it the second time and though, yeah, it's still pretty good. Then I read it the third time. Wow. OK. For a book with so little words, it sure does pack a punch. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Bookish Fun: A to Z Tag

I wanted to post something a bit more exciting today, something different than my usual new on my bookshelf's or book reviews. So I googled 'fun bookish surveys' and the first result that popped up was one created by The Perpetual Page Turner. If you want to do this too, then I tag YOU! Link me in the comments or on my social media to your post so I can go and check it out :)
On y va.

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Sophie Kinsella, and I think Louise Rennison comes second!

Best Sequel Ever:

You know, I really enjoyed the sequel to Pollyanna, and still remember fond memories from reading it back in my early high school days. 

Currently Reading:

Nothing! I just finished a book yesterday, and I haven't chosen what I'll read next. 

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Tea or water. There's nothing better than water sometimes. Other times, there's nothing better than tea. Rooibos tea, specifically.

E-reader or Physical Book?


Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Oooh. Actually, no one springs to mind. Literally. Can't name a soul. Also, I'm thinking about an ideal world, where someone would have actually wanted to date me in high school. 

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone. Because DOY.

Hidden Gem Book:

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

Friday, July 31, 2015

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

Between the Lines 
by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer

OK. Where do I start with this one? Hmmm.
I was really hoping for a lot with this book, but it ended up being a hit and miss for me.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty

Wow. BLL has been sitting on my desk next to my laptop for months! Months and months. This post is so overdue. Woops! Sorry to anyone who was waiting for this.

I LOVED THIS BOOK. Liane Moriarty is, as you probably already know, one of my favourite authors in the world. AND she's Australian.

Her books are hilarious and intelligent, her characters are authentic and believable, her stories are out-of-this-world entertaining, and her writing is unmatchable in quality and execution. I got to see her at the Perth Writers Festival this year, which was amaaazzzinnggg.

Big Little Lies is her latest release (she's written quite a number of novels, and I haven't read all of them yet but I WILL!) and it has a murder mystery! Someone has been killed, and at a primary school quiz night, no less! The characters are so captivating, the plot can't help but entice, and the writing delivers the whole package together so brilliantly.

There are some heavy things some of the characters go through that are pretty serious and challenging, such as domestic violence, but Liane touched upon them with finesse and grounded authenticity. I absolutely love the way Liz Byrski worded it when she talked about this at the Perth Writers Festival in a panel along with Liane. Liz described them as "dark, contentious issues dealt with very lightly and never trivially".

I'm really excited for this book to be adapted to the screen - especially with Reese Witherspoon playing Madeline and Nicole Kidman playing Celeste.

My rating: 4.5 stars

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New on my bookshelf [insta-edition]

Hi! Welcome to the Instagram edition of what's "new on my bookshelf"! 
I only started using Instagram this year, so I'm pretty late on the bandwagon. You can follow me if you like, @arielle.yeap 

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer: I'm currently reading this one, and I only really got it because I heard Christine talking about it and the premise sounded really cool, and then I saw it in Big W and thought may as well just pick this up now. It's about Delilah, an unpopular girl in high school who is kinda obsessed with the prince in this fairy tale book from her school library. So much so, she keeps loaning the book out and constantly rereads it. Then one day, she notices some small changes in the book, and the prince starts talking to her! He wants her to get him OUT. He's stuck in the book, stuck on the pages and worst of all, stuck in a life he constantly has to relive. So far, I'm liking this - it's a pretty light read. The foreword at the beginning, written by Jodi Picoult, is sweet. 

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella: When I first heard Sophie Kinsella (one of my all time favourite authors) was releasing a YA, I was overjoyed. Then I forgot about it, and suddenly, it was well into 2015 and Finding Audrey was out! I got it, took a piccy of it, and now it's pretty much on the very top of my TBR. I really can't wait to read this. I don't even know what it's about and I don't need to because it's Sophie Kinsella and she never disappoints.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Allegiance by Wanda Wiltshire

After reading Betrothed and posting its very first review back in 2013, I was excited to receive Allegiance last year shortly after its release date. Wanda personally requested a print copy for me, which I adore her for! But to be honest, I adore her anyway, just for creating such a beautifully fantastical world and story.

It's taken me a long time to finally finish the book (I haven't been reading anything at all, apart from some children's books here & there). But I really want to start getting back into it. I have a few books I'm excited to read, which is something I didn't have for a long time. Anyway, I wanted to start off with finishing Allegiance first. 

Allegiance is a wonderful continuation from Betrothed in that the tone of the story hasn't changed a lot, although many, many things are different. Marla's human friends live in Faera now, which is great, and we see so much more of the world of faeries, but there's still one foot in the real world (the human world). I've always loved the combination of worlds - the world-building is done very well, Wanda paints a gorgeous picture of Faera and I just want to escape to that world all the time. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (Pictures by Oliver Jeffers)

By Drew Daywalt
Pictures by Oliver Jeffers

I absolutely love this book.
The Day the Crayons Quit is a picture book filled with wonderful and colourful crayon drawings and letters hand-written with crayons (there are a few photographs and printed words too). So, Duncan has a box of crayons and they've decided to each writer letters to him, spilling their woes, etc, etc. Some of the letters were a heartwarming reminder of how I used to treat different colours when I was little, and the whole idea of the book, the writing and the execution was clever, hilarious and ever so endearing.

I adore how the crayons have hand-written their letters (but I mean, they certainly couldn't have typed them out on a computer... that just seems unlikely!) and I can't go on enough about how much I love the pictures illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. They're child-like, but universal somehow as well, as if any person young, old, amateur, professional - would look at these drawings and smile. And they bring me back to a sweet place of nostalgia, and makes me want to create, create, create.

This brilliant little book has warranted its #1 NYT Best Selling status because any reader of any age will enjoy this cute story. I heard recently there will be a sequel coming out soon, and I'm so excited!

My Rating: 5 stars! Duh :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Liane Moriarty at #PWF15

Last month I went to the Perth Writers Festival to meet one of my favourite authors f all time – Liane Moriarty. I went to all three sessions she was at and I got to meet her and have all my books of hers signed. What’s even better was that I won her secret Facebook competition, the prize being a signed book of hers, and luckily I had every single book of hers already, except for one! The Husband’s Secret – so she signed it and gave it to me. Yay!

I’ve already read The Husband’s Secret but I’m glad I own it now, the cover is gorgeous, and the book itself isn’t too shabby either, haha! (You can read my review of The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty here)

The first session of Liane’s was her main one I suppose, featuring her newest book Big Little Lies (a review of that one coming soon!). I was pretty darn excited for it, to say the least. I sat in the second row from the front. In this session I questioned my pronunciation skills and learnt that Liane is pronounced Lee-AHn, and not how I thought it was pronounced. After this session I went straight to the signing, practically walking beside Liane and failing to muster the courage to say hello and speak that secret phrase for the Facebook competition. But even though I was like 10th in line at the signing, I managed to win! I was thrilled and confounded as to how I was the first person to whisper that secret phrase (“I wasn’t born in an earthquake either”) and win. Liane signed all 100000 of the books I brought plus the one I won and she was delightful. I should have asked for a photo with her.
But I found a photo of me in the line for the signing! Pan Macmillan Australia posted it on twitter.

I'm the asian-looking girl third in line :P
The second session was a panel with a few other authors, talking about ordinary lives, and the extraordinariness of them. I do kinda wish Liane spoke more because there was one quite boisterous and loud author on the panel (although she was funny at times, I found her a tad obnoxious) and Liane has quite a gentle and unassuming personality. Basically I was only interested in what one author had to say.

The last session was all about turning the book into a film, and Liane was joined with the author of The Rosie Effect, Graeme Simsion. Liane told us about meeting with Nicole Kidman for coffee, how Reese Witherspoon’s production company is making the film, and how Nicole Kidman wants to play the role of Celeste and Reese Witherspoon wants to play the role of Madeline. Some of what she said was repeated from earlier sessions but I didn’t really mind. Graeme also had really interesting things to say because he’s a screen-writer as well as a novelist, so he knows about the process. I haven’t read his books yet but I still found everything he had to say rather insightful. The authors were asked about their dream casts, and Liane promptly said, Matt Damon, in any role. I would heartily agree. 
Big Little Lies is going to be set in the US, which makes sense, but is still a little sad to think of – to think of all the lovely Australian things infused into the novel, and knowing the world will be seeing quite a different version of Pirriwee Public on the big screen. But anyway, it’s probably for the best – I always feel a little strange watching big blockbusters set in Australia. It’s weird to me, watching movies with characters that have Aussie accents, it’s just too real, or something. I don’t know.

Finally this post is up! It took me ages to write. Anyway, I need to go review Big Little Lies now, and another book, and those posts shall be up next. If you haven’t picked up Big Little Lies, I suggest you find it in a bookstore or Big W or online, buy it, and read it! It’s really really good. And funny, and those characters will take your heart for a little spin.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New on my bookshelf

The Buried Giant
by Kazuo Ishiguro

I am so excited to get my hands on this beauty of a novel. I literally just came home right then from Big W. Kazuo Ishiguro is one of my favourite authors and Never Let Me Go is one of my favourite books of all time. I am in awe of his writing. And I am so excited every time I read a great review of The Buried Giant, especially as it has touches of fantasy in there (although it is technically not fantasy!). I'm just so pumped to read and enjoy it. 
Oh and isn't the cover just gorgeous? I absolutely love it.

Have you read it yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

I’ve recently been dipping my toes in a lot more children’s fiction, mainly because I want to write it. I think I saw Stuck on the front page of The Book Depository one day and that was the beginning of my great admiration for Oliver Jeffers.

Stuck is about a boy named Floyd who gets his kite stuck in a tree and his efforts to get it unstuck. Basically, Floyd has one philosophy and one philosophy only – the only way he can get his kite unstuck from the tree is to throw things at the kite to knock it down. The concept is wonderful, not because everything he throws up there gets stuck with the kite, but because (spoiler alert) Floyd’s logic works.

What I appreciate the most is the illustrations. Oliver Jeffers’ style is indescribably enjoyable in my book. I absolutely love his art in every way – from the tree, to buildings, animals, and the facial expressions of people (e.g. Floyd’s sticky out tongue face and eyebrows) – it’s brilliant and simple and perfect. Another charming aspect is all of the words of the story are hand-written by Jeffers. It has this air of childish sophistication that looks like it’s been written by an 11 year old boy who’s been learning cursive for maybe a month or two (but forgets after every couple of letters what cursive is).

It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s beautiful and it’s perfect for adults and children alike. Definitely deserving of 5 stars. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

When I flipped through the Perth Writers Festival brochure I was shocked and excited to see one of my favourite author’s names. Liane Moriarty, in PERTH?!?! my mind exclaimed. I was in a year-long reading slump and decided I’d had enough. A few of Liane’s pre-Husband’s Secret novels were sitting unread on my bookshelf so I picked up the one I knew the least about (I had started reading Three Wishes a while back but I wanted to dive into something completely afresh). That book happened to be The Last Anniversary.

It all happened because of a mystery. The Munro Baby Mystery, to be specific. A baby was found in its home, the parents nowhere to be found. Alice and Jack Munro disappeared into thin air, leaving the kettle boiling for tea and a freshly baked marble cake ready for frosting. The neighbours, two teenage girls, Connie and Rose, came by to visit them and found the baby.

This mystery is the basis of every plotline and character in the novel. Connie and Rose took the baby home and looked after her as their own. They called the baby Enigma, and Enigma went and had kids, and then her two kids went and had three kids. All the kids are adults now, the youngest is in their late thirties. Suffice to say, there are a lot of characters in this book. It took me a little while to figure out who was whose daughter, who were siblings, who were cousins, etc. But obviously it was worth it to take the time to get to know the characters, because it’s Liane Moriarty and duh, the book is gonna be awesome. And it was. Awesome characters, awesome writing, awesome storyIine, awesome everything. I rated it 4.5 stars, so..

Monday, February 16, 2015

Hi again! I'm back?!

Hi! How are you? 
It feels so weird typing up a post on this blog for the first time in a very very long time. 
I've been away for so long! I feel like Dolly Levi, except no one is welcoming back to a luscious restaurant with a live band for me to sway to music as I come down a sweeping staircase in a swanky gold dress. Hmm. 

I should explain my absence. Basically, 2014 was not a good reading year for me. I read about 5 books (more if you include the picture books). It feels like -5 though. On the positive side, I kept buying books throughout that lengthy reading slump (not a positive for the bank account), which meant I did post a few 'new on my bookshelf's last year. 

This year I'm pledging to read more, write a heck of a lot more, and well, with reading more, comes reviewing more. Which means posting more! WAHOO. 

I'm going to the Perth Writers Festival next week, which I'm really excited for, because one my favourite authors is gonna be there (Liane Moriarty, duh!). I need to read Big Little Lies. Oh my gosh, I can't believe I still haven't read it and the festival is in just a few days, EEP! 

Anyway, I'm looking forward to posting more, and I hope you are too! 
I hope you're ready for some reviews. :) 

To authors/publishers out there, I'm sorry but my review policy is remaining the same for the moment, just coz I'm not really in a place to be offering to do reviews. Free books are always welcome though, (haha!), because I am, above all, a book collector.