Apr 19, 2014

Concerning Chocolate, Playing Catch-Up-The-Endless-TBR, and WE ARE LEAVING YOU

Yes, that's right, peoples, we are leaving you. 

But only for 4 days. Woah, what a let down, right?!

Because it's a) Easter holidays and b) school holidays we are going camping in the bush! Which is both good news and bad news. Good: lots of trees and walks and chocolate and food. Food is awesome. Bad news: no internet.

But I do have a book review of Riot by Sarah Mussi going up tomorrow (caution: it's recounted in Monty Python GIFs because...just because). And then, you shall hear from us on Saturday!

I know, the loss of us for a week is hard and you will miss us and the world might end. BUT. We have exciting things coming up to look forward to, like...

happening soon...
- A new blog design. Finally! I've been promising it for ages, but I've put the finishing touches on our epic new look. Also: it's actually hand-drawn by Mime. Trust me when I say it's fabulous.
- Our bloggy birthday is in May! We're turning 3 next month! So old and mature, I know, I know. Last year we spent the whole month celebrating, which was awesome but mildly exhausting. This year we have plans to do a Fairy Tale party week, with HEAPS of giveaways and maybe games, and probably lots of Moth Love. You knew that was coming. IT'S GOING TO BE FABULOUS.

taking a break is good

I confess, I'm hopelessly behind on commenting on your blogs and replying to my comments and...reading in general. I'm looking forward to a break. So I can come back and fangirl about books with you again, which is my favourite thing to do of ever. Honestly, it gets difficult to blog AND read AND write AND take over the world. I'm swamped.
This evil genius needs a holiday.

I also finished edits! Insert crazy party of relief and fatigue. So therefore I can write a NEW book! Yay! It's most likely about zombies, because I haven't written zombies before and that needs to be remedied.

my going-away reading pile
Camping (without internet...sobs) is a fantastic time to catch up on reading! Because, goodness knows, I'm not going to look at the Great Australian Bush or anything when I can be looking at lines of black-and-white print. SO. Behold my reading pile:

I have owned Tiger Lily and Scan forever. I feel absolutely awful that they keep getting pushed to the bottom of my pile. If I win or buy a book, I just don't feel pressured to read them. Awesome. Buuut, they tend to get forgotten in favour of ARCs.

I won Cracked from Allen & Unwin, but it was kind of a you've-won-this-but-please-review-it? I need to get onto that. Goddess is NOT my typical read, but it was an unsolicited review-copy from Bloomsbury. So why not?!

The Assassin's Blade (OMG!!!) and The Winner's Curse are new from my MOST FAVOURITE PEOPLE EVER. GO BLOOMSBURY. I just love them.

oh and a question!

We've been having trouble with our email-subscriptions. If you're signed up to receive emails of our posts....you might not be getting them. This is a tragedy. It appears to be working now, but if it's not working for you, try unsubscribing and re-subscribing. This happened to me a while ago with my friend's blog's feed. I unsubscribed and then re-subscribed and it worked okay.

Let me know if you're having problems with it!
so bye! 
We'll be mostly eating chocolate and reading and freezing, probably, since it's kind of cold in the bush at night. (Good excuse for fire and marshmallows, though, right?!) It'll be fun!

Happy Easter, blogglings! Eat chocolate. Happy holiday!

what's on your Easter reading pile? what have you just finished and do you recommend it??! i'm always looking for more books...

Cait is mildly frantic because her Goodreads isn't working. Is it the site in general? Is just her internet? WILL IT BE FIXED SOON BECAUSE SHE NEEDS IT? ASAP. Between moaning about Goodreads, she's getting a Pinterest fix and replying to all her emails. You know, embrace the internet while you have it.

Apr 17, 2014

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (OH THE BRILLIANCE)

Words. Okay. Words. I must remember how to do words.

Peoples. ANOTHER 5-star read and I'm absolutely floored and...words. I just...Oh. WOW.

NOTE: I can't possibly talk about this without babbling spoilers, BUT I will have a spoiler section. It'll be clearly marked and you will not see spoilers unless you want to. So rest easy as you read!

Thank you thank you thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for the review-copy. Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) hit shelves in August, 2013.

about the book!

Book #2 in the Throne of Glass series

Eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien is bold, daring and beautiful – the perfect seductress and the greatest assassin her world has ever known. But though she won the King’s contest and became his champion, Celaena has been granted neither her liberty nor the freedom to follow her heart. The slavery of the suffocating salt mines of Endovier that scarred her past is nothing compared to a life bound to her darkest enemy, a king whose rule is so dark and evil it is near impossible to defy. Celaena faces a choice that is tearing her heart to pieces: kill in cold blood for a man she hates, or risk sentencing those she loves to death. Celaena must decide what she will fight for: survival, love or the future of a kingdom. Because an assassin cannot have it all . . . And trying to may just destroy her.

add it on Goodreads
meet the author!

I'm Sarah J. Maas, the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Heir of Fire, Book 3, will be out in September 2014). The Assassin's Blade, a bind-up of all five TOG novellas is out now! Starting in Spring 2015 - my New Adult Fantasy series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, will be published by Bloomsbury as well! Horray! I was born/raised in Manhattan, but traded freezing winters and sweltering summers for No Winter Ever Weather when I followed my then-boyfriend (now husband!) out to California in 2008. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College with a degree in Creative Writing, and a minor in REligious Studies. I'm represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.

It's super hard to write reviews for books you absolutely 100% adore. Gosh, it's impossible. Where do I start? What do I tell you? WHAT CAN I SAY THAT WILL SUM UP THIS GLORIOUS CREATION?

When I read book #1 (Throne of Glass), I felt happy and excited and pretty much like this:

But then, oh silly me, I read Crown of Midnight (book #2) and it all turned into this:

I'm legitimately unsure of how to function until book #3 comes out. What was life before this genius ruled my emotions? How did I function? Both book #1 and #2 are ALREADY have 5-stars from me, incessant fangirling, plus they're on my best-books-of-the-year list (and I've read 70 books already, peoples, so that's not an easy feat!). I just love them, okay?

The series has everything I demand! Flawless writing. Epic world-building. Mind-blowing plot twists. Heartbreaking characters. And humour. YES! Amongst all the pain, I actually laughed out loud. Peoples, I'm not even a fan of high-fantasy (I usually get confused and bored) but I could NOT put this book down! It's complicated and intense, but I never felt like I was drowing. I just wanted moooore.

There is no "second book blues". There are no lulls. There is action and adventure and twisty characters and sneaky expeditions and some serious romance and just a little tiny bit of BLOOD EVERYWHERE. Just sayin'.

Characters are what I love most when I'm reading and Crown of Midnight delivers the most amazingly written characters EVER. 
things i will forever love!

Chaol and Celaena
I shipped them the moment we got introduced to Chaol. Dorian? He was an option, but to me: it was ALWAYS Chaol. I kept shipping them so hard in this book. They simultaneously made me laugh and GNASH MY TEETH OH GOSH HOW CAN I HANDLE THIS?

We can't forget that Celaena spent so long in the horrific prison mines of Endovier in book #1. (Not a spoiler because it says so in the blurb of book #1.) But she LOVES FOOD. I can always get alongside a character who adores food. And when I say adores, I mean: she-will-devour-a-complete-chocolate-cake-by-herself-no-regrets.

I'm not a clothes guru...but I appreciate so much when characters actually CARE about their clothes and apperance! You can still be a deadly assassin and have other interests. Celaena is such a deep character because of her personality and wit and intelligence. But also: she has such a passion for spending money on clothes. Aaaand...

There is SO MUCH BOOK LOVE here! That is amazing and makes my heart beat wildly. Books are cherished and loved and...thank you, just thank you, to the author, for making books be tools of power and wisdom.

I'm floored at how well the magic is woven into this book. And there are some killer plot twists involving magical things...ohhhh, scary. But in all seriousness (har, har): I love how the magic is unique and deadly and beautiful. Emphasis on the deadly, though. Can we NOT keep awkening scary creatures? Did we learn nothing in the first book?! I'm going to suffer a heart attack. I really am.

let's chat: spoilers! spoilers! 
Highlight to read:

Can we please talk about Chaol's grave "betrayal"?
Honestly, I don't think this was as horrific as it could have been! Maybe I'm just partial to all things Chaol...but how did Celaena flip out on him so fast?!! He'd been everything to her and in that second, she believed everything slimy Archer had to say. She didn't even confirm things with Chaol. She just flipped! And hated him and...you know the rest. This bothers me. It actually made my opinion of Celaena wobble. 

I get so very frustrated when characters go down the miscommunication route. But this isn't a critism on the writing of the book! It's actually realistic, I suppose. But I felt that Chaol and Celaena were "too good to be true" and I KNEW they'd be broken apart. I just didn't feel the "breaking point" was strong enough. 

Am I supposed to think Celaena loved Nehima more than Chaol??

After all: Nehima actually lied and tricked Celaena and then Celaena found out BEFORE Nehima died! That had that whole freakish argument. But Celaena wasn't clawing Nehima's eyes out. Am I right? I felt a wobble in the characters there: I felt Celaena's reaction to the betrayal of BOTH Nehima and Chaol should have been similiar. 

Okay. I'm good now. I'm good. I just really had to talk about that. And I'm super keen for your opinions!

what do it rate it?

OF COURSE. If I could have a higher star rating, trust me, I'd give it here. This book totally ripped my soul out, made me laugh and cry and dissolve and be inspired. ALL THE LOVE.

I need some chocolate cake.

i want to chat with you about Crown of Midnight now! what did you think about it all up? is it better than book #1?
what were your disappointments?

Cait fangirls so hard sometimes that she needs to sit down and calm herself. She literally wrote this review minutes after finish reading...soo...she's a bit of a mess. Basically: FKADSLF;ASD. But there is hope! She has The Assassin's Blade (a collection of TOG novellas) to read next. The joyousness doesn't have to end yet! Oh, and by the way, she was serious about that chocolate cake. Please?

Apr 16, 2014

Disney Destroyed My Soul and Made Me Narrow Minded

Remember those movies your parents put on for you to watch? Those bland, same-same movies that taught you never to think for yourself, and (if you're a girl), to always rely on a guy? The ones where everyone wore pink and singing animals solved life's problems so the girl at the centre didn't have to do anything at all?

Me neither.

It has come to my attention that Disney gets rubbished for nothing. 

Basically, the "big one" is that Disney princess movies are sexist, teach girls to only think about love and being rescued, and feature an abundance of pink. 

I'm going to dispel these myths.

1. First up, we have Snow White.

Understandably, this is probably the most sexist of Disney movies, since it was made in the 1930's. I can't talk much about her from experience, because I haven't seen this movie since I was a miniature. Snow White's evil queen stepmum wants to annihilate her because she's prettier. Prettier? On face value Snow White's innocent beauty--a feature about herself she can't even control--is a hugely sexist thing to be the tipping point of the story. But wait! Reexamination, please! 

Evil queen. Evil QUEEN. The land is ruled, undisputed, by a woman. Not one character goes, "Hey, wait. It's a bad idea that she's queen because she's a woman." No! They knock her out of power because she's bad. Not because a guy can do it better. Also, she wants to kill the pretty stepdaughter and reign supreme. The villain is a woman, and a pretty stinking powerful one. I don't really see how women are downgraded in anyway. (Also, Snow White wears blue and yellow -- not pink.)

2. Cinderella, dear poppet. 

Here's a fun one. Firstly, the villain is a woman who can rule the roost just fine on her own. Also, Cinderella eventually stands up to her cruel treatment by defying the stepmother and going out anyway.

Note: Mr. Saving Prince has nothing to do with the real catalyst of the story. He's just a bonus at the end. She didn't have the prince on her mind when she went. She got there with a woman's help, anyway. Her Fairy GodMOTHER. (Also, she wears blue.)

3. Aurora

She does ultimately get saved by a bloke again, but in her defence, she was dead at the time. Or asleep for a hundred years, but same difference. The villainous woman, again, has extreme power. Interesting to note, ONLY WOMEN had powers in this movie -- all the fairies. The guys like the kings and Prince Phillip? Mere mortals. Aurora was rescued by women when she was a baby, too. Women who were terrible housewives, something absolutely not normal for the 1950's. I am a little sad that Aurora herself didn't do much at all, but anyway. (And yes, she wears pink.)

4. Ariel 

She is probably the dumbest of all the princesses. I'm sorry, but it's true. She changed for her man, which is about the dumbest thing a girl can do. But in her defence, she catapulted her own story into action by SAVING THE PRINCE. Eric would have been fish food if it wasn't for her. The villain is a woman, once again, with more power than the average mortal. 

(Ariel used to wear pink in group shots, but recent princess modifications now have her wearing sea green. Goes well with the hair.)

5. Belle
If anyone tells me Belle's story was sexist, I will laugh. And then cry. Because Bell ran the entire show. Belle sacrificed her life for her father, stood up to Gaston (notably the first male villain), TAUGHT the beast (not just said, "Oh, I love you." She took up a leadership position and taught him how to read and be a good human.) Oh, and she rescued the beast from enchantment. And then she rescued the rest of the castle. And she wears yellow.

6. Jasmine 
She doesn't do much. The movie isn't about her. But she does tell those sexist jerks that she's not a prize to be won. Then she stuffs Aladdin's hat in his face when she realises that he's just there to win a pretty bride. Yeah. Weak woman? Huh. Also: Blue outfit. Sensing a pattern?

7. Pocahontas
 I'm not going to say much here, because the only way to think Pocahontas is passive is to NOT watch the movie. She only said, "You must kill me before you kill John Smith" and then saved the environment while she was at it. I could go on. I won't. (Brown dress.)

8. Mulan
She only saved China...nothing major or anything, right?. (Yellow and green outfit--when she's actually wearing a dress.)

9. Tiana 

She is certainly a hard worker. And her love interest is pretty much a slacker. Tiana is the star of the show that whips him into shape. She also said that she had no interest in finding a man (at the beginning). Oh, and she had to save Naveen. Because he was an idiot. And everyone knew it. (Though he was a great character. Like, Captain Thorne. Anyway.) (Green ball gown, note.)

10. Rapunzel 
She is maybe a nod back to Disney's less feministic days, as she doesn't exactly save the day (technically, the horse does, but anyway.) She does smack Flynn in the face with a frying pan. That's anything but passive. She also helps him be a better person. Rapunzel has an agenda she will do anything to fill, and that definitely does not make her a sit-back-and-let-the-prince-do-the-work girl. (Purple dress. I love her dress. It's my favourite.)

11. Ah, Merida. 
Who doesn't love a girl with a bow? Especially one with NO love interest. At all. In fact, she basically tells everyone the idea of only having life option--being a good queen and mother--is absolute rubbish.

And a green dress. Wow, I love that she does the whole action-packed movie in an ankle-length dress and it doesn't compromise her fighting for a moment.

12. Anna is great.

She's definitely not weak. She's a romantic, yes, but she's not afraid to boss Kristoff around. Or yell at an angry snow monster. Or throw punches. Oh, and she saved herself and her sister. No guys involved.

 (And purple and blue clothes.)

13. Elsa

She's also a princess (Queen!) with no dude to slow her down. Oh, yeah. She rules, with no one questioning whether she's "good enough" due to being a girl. She almost skewered a bloke with an icicle. She broke out of a prison using only ice. And covered an entire land in a deep winter. In summer. In high-heels. Power, much? (Wearing blue.)

Tell me again how Disney presents women as passive and/or damsels in distress? Because I think that's a pretty naive statement. Same as the pink thing. The franchise DOES make all the toys, backgrounds, decorations insanely bubblegum pink. But think about it! Everything that's NOT the dresses needs to be pink...or else it blends. It's a rule of design. The focal image stands out better against a contrasting, light background. Also: many little girls like pink. I did. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

what is you're stance on Disney Princesses? are you a Disney Kid, or a bit more skeptical? does Disney portray their females as weak or strong? (No, really! I want to know!)

Mime is relishing her holidays. All except for the homework. But you can't have everything. She's reading Bird by Crystal Chan and is thinking about weird things like making money off mermaids. Yeah. She's not really sure where to find one, but if you know, please tell her.