Claudia The Conquerer

All it takes to make me happy is a good book, some great music and a big mug of tea.



Even though I agree with the principle of the new, realistic proportions Barbie, it still ignites quite a lot of wtf-ery. Also, the ghetto booty?




Oh good, I was getting worried about accommodation for during a zombie apocalypse. 

Holiday reading slump?

You know what's weird? During the holidays, when there's a lot more time, my reading becomes ridiculously slow. I haven't finished one book in two weeks. Crazy. Especially when I usually finish one a day or so during the school week. Is there a link between stress and the need to read? Because I know that when I'm at my most stressed is when I also read the most.    But alas! It changes. I'm reading House of Hades. Its for 12 year olds but I love it. A guilty pleasure. ;)

Reblogged from There's more to life than reading, but it's a good place to start:
Covet - Tracey Garvis Graves

I liked it. I thought it was good for its genre. Written wonderfully realistically.
BUT. It's just not my cup of tea. They say write about what you know, and TGG has obviously done that. And I just read about something I know absolutely nothing about. It's not an escapist fantasy world. It's reality - cold and honest. And it is hard because it's a reality I know nothing of.

So maybe the effect was lost on me. Nevertheless, I can tell it's a great book.

Uncharted - Tracey Garvis-Graves

I just read this little quickie (I wasn't even aware it existed and then immediately went and bought it) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I adored On The Island, and reading some more of T.J and Anna's relationship, plus the mystery of the bones on the island was absolutely fab. Nothing was overdone. It made me happy and did everything a novella is supposed to do. I could probably have done with a little more character development from Calia and maybe some clearer writing on the whole 'incident'. I think that should be clear enough.

Overall, pretty great.

Oh hi there new blog!

So I've made the perilous quest from Goodreads to Booklikes. I wasn't sure whether I would like it or not but so far I've been quite happy with how its working out.

I love Goodreads, and I don't want to permanently leave - or not until Goodreads makes me cranky like it has done for many other users. So I'm laying out my territory on Booklikes and trying it out for if I ever need to make the permanent move.

So take note of the time and date and seal it in history - this is my first Booklikes blog post.


(oh who am I kidding? no one is reading this)

Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband - Melissa Mayhue Alarmingly decent for historical romance - Highland warrior style. No insta-love, good characters, interesting characters. It was all there.
Pretty alright.
Jasper Jones - Craig Silvey I've read this for my school English class novel study and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. You know me, Aussie writers are my favourite, but the genre and the whole 'small town, murder' plot doesn't usually sit great with me. But. Craig Silvey is a genius (plus, he's only 28 years old!) and the awards and acolades are very prestigious.

Okay, so how do you build a community in 1960's rural town WA? Easy. You make it full of awful people, racism, murder and just a couple of kids who manage to outshine any other characters I've read recently.
Charlie, Eliza, Jefferey, and Jasper are phenomenal. They're smart and learn so much about themselves and the world they live in a short period of time. Charlie learns the most and - wait, wanna hear a word I learned that English teacher love? Bildungroman. Jasper Jones is a bildungroman, which basically means it's a book about personal growth and character education.
Anyway, our plot is thick with great characters, a multitude of 'sit on the edge of your chair, biting your fingernails' scenes and a nod to To Kill A Mockingbird. Which I love. I can see the parallels without me being like, 'COPYCAT!!!'
Personally, I squeed over Eliza and Charlie. The young love shown in this novel is sweet and honest without me wanting to gag myself. By reading the last sentence you'd think it was a romance book. But I personally believe the romance is to a) help with Chaarlie's growth and b) enhance the plot.
Either way, I have to write an essay on Jasper Jones and I''m looking forward to it. Great book.
Sweet Damage - Rebecca  James I didn't want to compare Sweet Damage so much to Beautiful Malice so much but I really can't help it when they're of the same genre, same sort of setting and then there's such a vast difference in delivery.
This book is fantastic, no lie, and I (am about to reiterate a very well-used opinion on my half) love Aussie lit, and this was exactly what I look for in my Aussie stuff.
The breakdown:
Character wise, we had Mr main character, Tim, who was your average laid-back, surfer, Aussie bloke from Sydney. He was great. Kind and funny and average but shone through the entire time because he was so open and compassionate that you felt a desire to just hug him.
Anna, however, was where the plot lay. Anna lives in a massive house by herself, she suffers from depression and agoraphobia but still captured my interests as being compelling without being told but shown.
And Lilla, someone hand me a machete quick-snap. I... did not like this girl. Which was definitely the point but still. I can't really go too far with her because she personality is where so much of the plot is.

The romance was a nice slow build-up with nothing annoying. It wasn't a romance book technically, but what there was was still better than some of the actual romance stuff you read.

I found the plot quite fast-paced but easy to follow and believe. The writing style was fantastic. Most of the book was written in Tim's pov but Anna got her own chapters slipped in there in third-person. That was lovely and moved everything along beautifully. In comparison to Beautiful Malice, there are significantly less 'shocks' but what we did find out really gave you a good heart-pounding.
What held me back from 5 stars was the fact that I didn't feel the 'psychological thriller' part of the book. There was definitely some fucked-up psychology happening but I wasn't convinced in it as much as I was in Beautiful Malice. This may have had something to do with where the big secret was revealed. But I also MUCH prefer the title 'Sweet Damage' because I wasn't feeling the 'Beautiful' in 'Beautiful Malice'.
The ending, also, was a bit rushed and I would have preferred some more depth and less, 'this happened, then this happened, the end.' We did get the great little bit at the end.

So, I ended up really enjoying Sweet Malice and found it a better, more believable read than Beautiful Malice and I would definitely recommend this read to anyone who wants quality.
Q & A - Vikas Swarup After reading a few other reviews, I agree that the novel is highly melodramatic. I haven't been to India, but I do understand the depravity of the slums and the caste system. And while Swarup really made an effort to make the reader understand what this part of India is like, I found it melodramatic and tedious. I get it, the world sucks, but everything that sucks about it is in this novel. Pedophile priests, murder, rape, intentionally disabling children to use them as beggars, etc. You name it, if you're disgusted by something, it'll be in this novel.
However, I enjoyed the story and the method in which it was told. It's a fairly engrossing, easy read and really told a fascinating, original story.
I'll be studying this is school, in comparison with the film, Slumdog Milliionaire. So this should be good.
Let it Snow - Lauren Myracle, John Green, Maureen Johnson Super cute and loveable stories to set the Christmas mood. Although while their Christmas consists of snow and plows, mine consists of stinking hot days and the beach. Then bush fires. But anyway, they were lovely and quality stories. By the way, my favourite is the first one, with Jubilee.
Divergent (Divergent #1) - Veronica Roth AND... breathe! Talk about intense. To be clear, this is my second time reading Divergent and I'm still reeling from the action.
I loved the fighting and how powerfully Roth wrote action scenes. And there were puh-lenty of those. I think for me, I understand Tris and Dauntless. As others have said - you either love it or you hate it. You get it or you don't. Luckily I'm on the 'get it' side of the fence. Mostly because I'm from a stable, strong family but I totally get why you would join Dauntless - it's powerful and free and (when there isn't a war with hundreds of death) fun! I would love to zip line, jump from moving trains, etc.
And I get Tris - maybe she is a bit cold and lacking sympathy. But she's not lacking empathy. She is selfless to the point of suicidal.
And Tobias. Once again, tough and seemingly uncaring but he ends up being incredibly powerful.
I thought Veronica Roth did a fantastic job with her characters. They were different and, dare I say it, dystopian - a bit odd and hard for us to understand but this is a future society. Shit has gone down and this is what is left. Insurgent really backs this up.

So I loved the action, the characters and even though the plot got a bit difficult to follow, it was very, very exciting!
I am eagerly awaiting Book 3 (which doesn't even have a title yet - I think it should be called Detergent, personally).
On the Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta So utterly beautiful. I love Melina Marchetta - she is probably my favourite author - so I'm not really sure why I put off reading this. I did try once, a couple of years back, and I got stuck at the confusing beginning and didn't push through. The beginning didn't get me this time, I was able to read right through because, though it was cryptic, it was still beautifully written and once you understood the whole concept of the territory wars everything became so so much clearer. Love love loved Jonah, Raffy, Santangelo as the sort of 'gang'. They were such brilliantly written characters. And I'd been told about how it was such a sad novel. That it would rip your heart out. Yes, I did shed one or two tears, but nothing like The Fault in Our Stars. I found the ending happy, personally, but it may be all a matter of opinion.

On The Jellicoe Road was incredible. Fantastic characters, rich description and a fascinating story line. I think this one made me particularly happy because of the setting. I presume Jellicoe is southern NSW/northern Victoria because of the distance to Sydney. The highway they drove on to get there is the Hume Highway and Yass, which is a very important place in the novel, is about 20 minutes from where I live. So the fact I could really picture it in my mind was amazing.

Also, Ben the violinist and the Mullet Brothers, they appeared in The Pipers Son and that made me very, very happy.

Now that I've read all of Melina Marchetta's works I don't know what to do with my life. I'll probably have a mental breakdown soon. To any aspiring readers, don't be perturbed by the cryptic beginning, the story slowly unfolds and it is so incredible and wonderful and heart throbbingly beautiful, you'll want to crawl into the book and live with Taylor, Hannah, Jude, Raffy, Santangelo and Jonah.
Good Oil - Laura Buzo Ah, nothing better than a good Aussie YA.
I just finished this (much too quickly, I might add) and I'm finding pretty difficult to form a rock solid opinion.

It was great - I know I loved it. It was honest and sweet without removing the rough edges. Why is that it can contain sex and swearing and still be a glorious YA? Is it because it's not harcore or anything - it's not - it's a bit glossed over but the message is there. We know that he just had sex with someone only just legal. And a quite a bit of 'fuck!' and all sorts of greats swear words. And alcohol abuse. All of that. I love that. Is that an Aussie thing? That I think a good book can't be all smooth and lovely. And that you can't have book characters of the 15-21 age group with no drugs, sex and swearing. Good Oil isn't about drugs, sex and swearing. It's about growing up and learning the facts of life. And there are still drugs, sex and swearing. It's honest.
I've noticed that though - some YA books (true, they are also for the younger half of YA) are so innocent. Life isn't all peaches and roses. That's why a book about a sexy, yet completely innocent girl meeting a tortured bad boy and then having sex within a week of knowing each other pisses me off! (Abbi Glines, I'm talking to you).
But back to Good Oil, it is honest and the message it sends is true. Amelia learned about life. Chris learned about life. And they learned from each other and they didn't have sex!

Amelia, as a character is very real. She could be someone I know, so very easily. She's got the right amount of self-centered teenager - a bit too overwhelmed by her world that she can't see out of it very easily. Insecure, smart and funny.

And Chris - Chris is divine. He's a bit lost - what to do after uni? Stuck at home, shitty job... It's all a bit shit, mate, eh? But he has so much warmth and character. I found his POV enthralling. Tell me more!

And Laura Buzo does do a great job of entwining both characters' POV. We were given plenty of both, with no short chapters of each. It's settled the story, made it move slower and flow smoother. It was written very well and all the added tidbits, the book conversations, ideas on feminism, all very interesting.

It's a good solid YA. And I will VERY happily read some more of Laura Buzo.

A Tale of Two Centuries - Rachel  Harris Completely enjoyable and fun with some really great writing. However, the almost insta-love irked me. There were some parts I didn't believe. Still good though.