noni-arkanaeAlex was sent down the hallway to the third door on the right. Nothing was ever the same again. Who’d have guessed behind that door was a whole different world of magic and excitement.

Lynette Noni has crafted a story that is not only fun but intriguing as well.  As we all know, the boarding school, magic, questing and teen angst thing has been done to freaking death.  We’re usually on the quest with a nerdy guy, or a pathetically naive girl. Alex is so beyond awesome that it’s kind of annoying that she’s fictional.

I also like to analyse the calibre of the best friends or posse, and judge them on their ability to see the main character as they really are, and their willingness to stick by them through the entire character arc. Bear and Jordan are pretty damn loyal. They stack up, and though they can’t be with Alex every step of her journey, they don’t have to cower, crawl and kowtow to fix a mess; which is refreshing.

The adult characters aren’t all ridiculously stern, though Alex’s parents are markedly absent through a good 99 percent of the story. I am looking forward to the future books where I would imagine they will remerge and add flavour to the plot.

I thoroughly enjoyed the settings of the boarding school and the various other places Alex travels to. I can imagine how it would feel to be in the archives, and the food court sounds amazing.

I look forward to continuing with the Medoran Chronicles and finding out what Alex does next.

 

Paperback, 436 pages

Published February 1st 2015 by Pantera Press

ISBN 1921997508 (ISBN13: 9781921997501)

 

noni-Akarnae student cardP.S. At Brisbane Supanova in November I had the chance to briefly meet Lynetteto have her sign my book and participate in a fun extra she had on offer at the signing table. There were also bookmarks… hand made by Lynette.

You can find Lynette here:- http://lynettenoni.com/

And you can follow her on all the social medias.

Facebook:- https://www.facebook.com/lynette.noni/

Instagram:- https://www.instagram.com/lynettenoni/

Twitter:-  https://twitter.com/LynetteNoni

 

Paperback, 436 pages

Published February 1st 2015 by Pantera Press

ISBN 1921997508 (ISBN13: 9781921997501)

 

 



Belinda_kisses_tnBel’s happy with the series so far!

 

 

shadow huntersThis is a Netflix exclusive, 13 episode TV show based on the best selling Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.

Some would class the City of Bones film as a bit of a flop… (I personally liked it). So I was utterly thrilled to see recently that the TV series was heading to my Netflix account on the 13th of January 2016. Episodes are to be released on a traditional once weekly basis and I’m looking forward to seeing the installments pertaining to the slideshow shows when mousing over the tile.

The special effects are pretty damn cool and though the first thought that ran through my head when they pulled out the Seraph blades was ‘Wow hope they bought enough batteries’, the rest of it is better than most I’ve seen before.

They didn’t stick to the storyline rigidly; Clary is 18, rather than 15, and the cast has completely changed… not necessarily a bad thing.

I want to hear what you all thought and tell me if you’re going to keep up with the series.

I am totally sucked in.



kaufman-illuminaeBel:

Cover

I have the small format paperback. It’s looks very much like a page from a visual diary. Oranges red’s and vivid yellows are superimposed over print to look like an inferno. Though it seems rather abstract in the description, it really does represent the story quite well.

The title is over the top of lines of white out, and the blurb at the top of the page by Marie Lu shares my opinion of this book. The one line synopsis, “First, survive. Then tell the truth.” It’s a real hook to picking up the book.

Characters

The cast is rather large as there are the crews of two space vessels to take into account. We do however focus mainly on a much smaller group.

Favourite

I cannot pick between Kady and Ezra. The interviews at the beginning of the book really clinch it for me.

Least Favourite

Aidan. I can just imagine his cold, detached, monotone voice. A whole lot of nope!

Beginning

The space colony Kady and Ezra live in is attacked by a large company (attacked as in bombs and biological warfare) and in the evacuation they end up on two different space vessels.

Storyline

The biological warfare starts to take hold on the ship Ezra is on and lies are being told to cover the tracks of the people in power.

Ending

It’s up to Kady and Ezra to bring the best outcome and save as many people as they can. No pressure!

Thoughts

I love the formatting of this book.

Presented as a dossier ready for review by a tribunal, I think it quite unique. It’s filled with interviews, third party recounts of surveillance footage, instant messages, diary entries, artworks, diagrams and emails.

Sitting at 599 pages I really thought I would struggle to get through this monster this month. I did, however, get it consumed in a day: almost one sitting.

It is totally immersive and the character voices are witty and believable.

I’m glad this is written by Aussie authors. There really is something satisfying about authors who are not American making it to the NY Times best sellers list.

Quotes

Interviewer: – “We can talk about it if you like, or we can sit here and stare at the walls until our allotted hour is over.”

Interviewer:- “It’s up to you.”

[SKIP 51:27 MINUTES OF COMPLETE SILENCE]

~ Ezra interview.

Interviewer: – “You evacuated at that stage?”

Kady:- “You make it sound way more organised than it was.”

Interviewer:- “How was it?”

Kady:- All kittens and rainbows apart from the screaming and explosions.”

~Kady interview.


 

amie-kaufman-and-jay-kristoffJoelene:

Cover

An array of oranges and yellows. Like an explosion overlaid with embers. It’s dramatic and eye-catching; and the writing on the cover suits the files format of the novel.

 

Characters

Ezra Mason and Kady Grant. A couple for a year, at the beginning of Illuminae, they have just broken up.

 

Favourite

I don’t know if I have one. I really like the dynamic between AIDEN and Kady without necessarily adoring either of them on their own.

 

Least Favourite

Probably Ezra. He’s a perfectly functional character, if he were meant to be minor player. Considering that he’s second only to Kady, he’s kind of lacklustre.

 

Beginning

When a corporation finds that another company has been mining one of its planet’s resources, it moves to destroy the colony. Kady and Ezra are set to be collateral damage in the battle. Luckily for them one of the United Terran Authority battle-carriers is near enough to respond to distress signals and come to the rescue. Now, badly damaged, the remnants of this once great colony must keep ahead of the remaining enemy ship as they try to reach civilisation.

Storyline

Just when you think that the Kerenzan refugees are in as much danger as they could be, they get thrown even deeper. With some of the survivors suffering from the effects of previously unheard of biological weapons, the others need to make difficult decisions about how to survive to six month trek to safety.

 

Ending

The ending picks up pace so much more than the beginning. It’s amped up and edge-of-your-seat stuff.

Thoughts

The format didn’t work for me. I don’t mind different styles, but structuring this in interviews, files and break-downs of video footage killed almost all of the emotion. It’s actually an amazing story. Fresh, vivid, with enough going on to keep the pace and story tight and taut. The panic of being chased by a determined and more powerful enemy, being at risk from biological hazards and not being able to trust the usual hierarchy is obvious, but would be more palpable if the story had been interspersed with files rather than being entirely files.

Quote

Interviewer: How did you make it out?

Kady Grant: I’m a lateral thinker.

Interviewer: Meaning you used your comput-

Kady Grant: Meaning I broke open a window.

 


kaufman-illumKrista:

Cover

The hardcover has a see-through plastic book cover. The actual hardcover of the book is a document with red handwritten notes on it. It 100% represents the story and the bright orange colours really draw the eye to it.

Characters

There are so many characters in this story that at times I couldn’t remember who was who. The main characters are Kady and Ezra; they recently broke up and during the rescue, end up on different spaceships. A lot of the communication is done between the two.

Favourite

I can’t really pick an absolute favorite out of the group but I did like Ezra over Kady. I found him to be a very caring person.

Least Favourite

I don’t have a character specifically, but the whole company of BeiTech was pretty awful.

Beginning

Most of the beginning of the story is character interviews about what happened to cause the mass evacuations of the Karenza Colony, and reports of some of the survivors and the testing they were going through on their ships to put them to work in different fields. Pilot, computers..etc.

Storyline

The illegal colony of Karenza is invaded and the majority of the citizens are killed; it’s a massacre. Some are able to escape to the three ships in the area, but are separated from their friends and family (if they even survived) and are given new jobs above the aircrafts, which are still trying to escape the BeiTech ships.

Ending

In the beginning of a war you expect a lot of upset, deaths, and that is what you get. There are twists, explosions, near death experiences. You name it!

Thoughts

This book was difficult for me. I had heard about it everywhere, and I loved the idea of how it was put together (all letters, reports, computer messages etc). But I really had a hard time getting into the story or liking the characters. I came to the conclusion (in relation to my own feelings of this book) that it is a work of art. Some of the pages, especially near the end, are very visual and artistic; they add a great experience to the reading of the story. I also enjoyed the more gruesome parts of the story; it makes the story dark and dangerous and crazy, which I love.

Quote

CitB:stay on task, grasshopper. we let the Alexander burn us out of the sky, your red hot love will be subsumed by a bigger, hotter flame

ByteMe: how do you even function in society?

CitB: it’s a struggle

 

Discussion Topics:

How do you feel about computers being programmed to kill innocents if those deaths could save more lives than they took?

 

Hardcover, 599 pages

Published October 20th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

ISBN 0553499114 (ISBN13: 9780553499117)



bowman-VengeanceRevenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal. 

Hardcover, 336 pages

Published September 1st 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers

This was one of those stories that I refer to as a “travel story”. I am unsure if there is already a term used for it.

Kate is in constant movement from one place to another, meeting people, finding answers and running for her life. There is very little downtime and things are always in motion.

After returning home and finding her father murdered, Kate decides that she wants revenge. First she follows her fathers wishes by travelling to a friend’s house who has promised to take care of her. Upon her arrival she finds that the friend has also passed. Kate follows her heart and the trail of the Rose Riders to avenge her father’s death with a small crew of her own (even though they are more focused on obtaining gold than killing the most powerful gang leader around).

Kate is a very determined character that has one focus. At times she will say whatever it takes to get those around her to do what she wants so she can reach her goal. All the while, those around her have ideas of their own. At times a bit of romance comes into play and there’s a lot of character growth for Kate as the story progresses.

I can’t say that I loved Vengeance Road so much that it inspired me to pick up more westerns, but I had a good time reading it and would recommend it to those who enjoy historical reads. It’s a very wild west, horse riding, shoot outs, card playing roller coaster of greed and revenge. An action packed, plot driven story that keeps you on your toes and has a fun twist ending. I haven’t read a lot of westerns and this one was engaging, had a great plot, and I loved the ending.

 



Belinda_kisses_tnBelinda Hamilton reviews Suffragette.

 

 

suffragetteDirected by Sarah Gavron

Remember the mother from Mary Poppins, singing heartily about her sister Suffragettes? This film is a long way from the frilly frivolity of spoon-fulls of sugar and spit spots.

Emmeline Pankhurst has had a gutful of inaction in the women’s rights moment and decides to rally the foot soldiers to create anarchy to get the message across. “Deeds not Words.”

We fall into the movie as Suffragettes take aim with rocks and anything they can get their hands on to break multiple panes of glass in 1912. We follow Maud (based on the real life Suffragette, Hanna Mitchell) as she gets swept up in the women’s moment.

Along the way we see the bitter pill many women in the Suffragettes had to swallow. Be it losing their jobs, their children, being ostracised, being thrown out on the street by their unsupportive husbands or being beaten; not only by the males in their lives but the police.

The casting is superb. Edith Ellyn (based on Barbara Gould) played by Helena Bonham Carter, makes me want to wave the flags and don the sash.  And as for the few minutes Emmeline Pankhurst, played by Merryl Streep is on the screen you can clearly see she was such a force of Nature.

The watershed moment of the suffragette moment is also covered in the film. Emily Wilding Davis played by Natalie Press. But you’ll have to either do a little research or see the film yourself.

The one thing that boggled my mind was the timeline displayed at the very end before the credits roll.

The last decade of the 1800’s was when New Zealand became the first self-governed colony in the world to allow ALL women to vote. But it took 122 years for Saudi Arabia to catch up when in 2015 women were finally given the right to vote.

Suffragette is at the end of its run in the cinemas but hopefully it won’t be too long a wait for the DVD release; and if there is any justice in the world, the DVD will be jam packed full of history filled extras.

We may think the work those ‘pesky’ suffragettes were marching toward is done and dusted, but baby, we’ve still got a long, long way to go.

If you saw Suffragette please let me know what you thought.

 

 


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