Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith review...

Synopsis:

The story is written by Cassandra, it is written in three parts, each part being a new journal; she lives in an old castle that her father took a forty year lease on with her family- her sister Rose, who's filled with longing for a better life, Topaz, her stepmother and artiste, her father who is a writer with a writers block that is making the family poorer everyday and her brother Thomas, who is very clever.
The family is very poor, but they stay strong, and after the landloard dies (they haven't exactly been paying the rent recently, not that he cared) and the new heir from America comes over to England, with his brother, to tak over the hall he was left, the family think they might just have been saved, that their hopes have been heard.
And as they all, in their different ways, form bonds to the new arrivals, things do seem to be changing, for the better you'd think, but is it really becoming better? Is life becoming easier?


(oops! I forgot to put my new pictures for book reviews on this before!)



What I thought:

I can't wait to read I capture the Castle again- I was a little hassled with books (or thought I was going to be) when I began it, so I would love to read it again, soon, when I'm not.
I first watched the film, which I didn't like for a while of it, but by the time it was over I was in love with it- with the characters, the style, the era, the feeling, the depth.
Cassandra is a truly one of a kind character and the story she has to share is something you'll never again hear... it's more than beautiful.
It's needful in a way that it doesn't need you, but Cassandra does, it's real, all of it, because it just must be, it's written so truthfully that it can't be anything but.
It's remarkable and never will there be a book quite like it.

Read it,
Romi.x

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I guess this is it...

Hi,

I was planning on posting a lot last week.... but I sort of, well, didn't.

I think I have got a little bit of blogger block- I have a slight feeling of not being able to post, because I feel slightly lazy and don't feel like it.

But do not worry! I shall by pass these feelings and late this afternoon I shall get on this here laptop and make some posts! I think I shall do some now!

Talking or, um, writing about it has made me slightly excited filled to post! Thank you blogger readers!

Lovingly,
Romi.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Guess what kind of Q&A I did? And with who?

Hello,
I did a Q&A with Nomes from the awesome book reviewing blog Inkcrush because she is very inspiring and interesting and I really wanted to- so I hope you enjoy and thank you so very much Nomes!



Why did you start blogging?
I started inkcrush in May last year ~ it began as a blog about writing and reading YA but I soon found I was too shy to talk much about my writing and now I focus on books I read and all the goodness in the Aussie YA scene.

*What is your all time favourite book?
That's really hard Romi (!) I have different favourites depending on my mood but my favourite author is Jaclyn Moriarty (crazy-in-love with her) and my fave book, well, I think it's probably On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. 

*Is inkcrush your first and only blog?
I had a personal blog which I ran for 2006 and 2007. And an art blog which I used to put up pictures of my artwork on. (I don't do either of these any more)


*What is your favourite thing about being able to be a blogger?
There's a few things that are highlights: making friends who are passionate about the same things as me, having a voice about YA books that I think are brilliant and lastly (surprisingly!) is the fact that a few authors have read my posts (!) and emailed me and that still blows me away.

*What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading THE THIEF by Megan Whalen Turner. I have heard the absolute vest things about it.

*Anything you don't like about being a blogger/book reviewer?
I wish I had more time to comment on other peoples blogs, sometimes I get stressed about trying to keep up with everyone's blogs. Sometimes I find it hard to review books that are good but didn't particularly do anything for me personally. I don't ever want reading to become a chore or for the purpose of my blog: I try hard not to fall into being critical and to just enjoy books. 

*How did your blog become so big? What did you do- or did it just happen?
LOL. I don't know? It constantly surprises me that a lot of people read my blog (and care about my opinion!). I don't know how I became big (not that I am huge or anything, haha). I know I have never worried about gaining followers. I don't follow trends in the blogosphere and I don't do memes ~ I just write what I am passionate about and completely be me :)


*Have you ever met any of the authors whose book you've reviewed?
YES (!) I met Steven Herrick (Aussie YA author) in April this year. I did not tell him I reviewed one of his books though :) He is amazing and I have loved his work for a long, long time. I felt a little starstruck when I saw him but I am very outgoing and felt completely relaxed even while being in awe. 


*Reading and reviewing so many books- does it make you want to become an author?
Definitely. I think it's an awesome privelege to write something and have people read it and be so impacted by it.

*Describe inkcrush in five words... ( :


Thank you Nomes!
And also thank you Sue Saliba and Penguin for supplying my review copy of Alaska.

Romi.x

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vloggy Valoggy...

Here is the Vlog I did in Cradle Mountain!

video
Well I'm really hoping it works- I began to waffle a tad... slightly... Enjoy!
Romi.x

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Anyone in sheer panic from lack of Q&A? Well here you go! YAY!

Pip Pip Poppies,Here for 'Your eyes only' (Bond song) is a really teriffic Q&A with none other then Sue Saliba! She's the author of The Skin of a Star, Watching Seagulls, Something in the World Called Love and upcoming novel (which I'm currently reading and will be soon reviewing here) Alaska.You can go to her website here; I'm sure she'd love to hear from you, even if you just want to tell her that you enjoyed this Q&A! Okey Dokey then, here is the mystic Q&A! I had a lot of fun doing it and found all the answers very interesting! Thank you Sue!

Have you always wanted to be a published writer?I always found – even as a child – that I experienced something special when I wrote, some kind of fulfilment that I didn’t get from anything else. It was as if my life became more dimensional. So naturally I was drawn to writing – and I was encouraged by my teachers to be a writer. However, I had no idea what the practical path to this was. I started out being an English teacher because I thought this was a way of being close to writing. Of course, I hadn’t factored in the endless corrections, the draining task of disciplining and the awful regular yard duty sessions – as well as the fact that it wasn’t the ideal occupation for the shyest person in the world like me. After a few years, I heard about a writing course at RMIT – and I instantly enrolled. That was where I wrote my first novel.

What did you feel when you heard that your novel was being published?I felt tremendous excitement - and a twinge of fear. Of course, I was thrilled to have my novel accepted but along with that came a slight feeling of apprehension because suddenly all those ideas and thoughts, moods and feelings I’d been alone with for a number of years were going to be out there in the world. It felt a little like stepping out of the shadows – both exhilarating and frightening. 
Did you use an agent?Yes, I have an agent in Sydney. She’s wonderful and very supportive in every way.
How long has the process been, roughly?I began ‘Alaska’ about 4 and a half years ago.  I’d written the first few pages when I heard that my previous novel, ‘something in the world called love,’ had just been accepted by Penguin. So, suddenly I had to re-enter the world of ‘something…’, to re-work parts of that. Then I moved from Melbourne to Phillip Island (which was a huge shift for me) and amongst it all, I was teaching Novel Writing at RMIT. So ‘Alaska’ remained just a few pages for about a year, although now I realise that the sensibility of the novel was growing inside me all that time. When I returned to it, I was ready to write without any more interruptions, both practically and emotionally. I wrote slowly (sometimes only 500 words a week) and from beginning to end without any real editing. After that, the novel was accepted for publication and the last 18 months of the process – particularly the last 6 months – have been spent working intensely with my Penguin editor. Did you get much say about covers? I was shown a cover design and I fell in love with it instantly. I’m sure if I’d not liked it or wanted aspects of it changed, the publisher would have listened to my concerns but there was no need. Allison Colpoys, the designer, is immensely talented and I love her work. I feel she instinctively understands my writing. She and I never actually discussed the novel – she simply read it and designed the cover. 
What are you currently reading?‘Lost Woods, The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson.’ I’m struck by her passion and her deep love of nature and of writing – and how gifted she was in both these areas. I’m also moved and inspired by her own public struggle to protect the natural world and the story of how, in the face of real opposition, she virtually began the modern environmental movement.
What is your favourite book?‘The Snow Goose.’ I re-read it earlier this year and I cried, just as I had when I first read it as a child. It is so beautiful and simple and sad.

 If you were stranded on a desert island, what one thing would you take?I know she’s not a ‘thing’ and I’m sure she would be very naughty at times but I couldn’t be without my best friend, Sally. She is my shadow – or perhaps I’m hers – and constant companion. She is a little red pomchi (ie. Pomeranian and chihuhaha) and she came to me five years ago via a ‘free to a good home’ sign in the local supermarket. I love her dearly.

What does being a published author mean to you?It means I’ve been given a privileged space – to read, to write, to reflect, to think about the world in a way that is not constrained by the demands of a conventional job. It also means I have a responsibility – to write faithfully and meaningfully, to be sincere.

What was your first job?A local aspiring politician was friends with my parents so he would pay my brother, sister and me fifty cents each to trudge up and down outer suburban streets delivering his pamphlets. I was too young at the time to take any interest in the kind of policies or the ethos espoused in those pamphlets but, looking back now – and reflecting on the many millions of dollars this man accumulated over the years through various questionable business dealings, particularly in real estate – I assume I would not take up the job if it were offered today (despite the lucrative pay deal!).


And lastly, what tips can you give to upcoming writers?I’d suggest reading and writing what they are passionate about and using their writing as a way of exploring their world. I’d also say that it is helpful to see your writing as part of a dialogue with other writing and with the larger world; what I mean by that is, I’ve found it helps to adopt an attitude that a piece of writing doesn’t have to be perfect, that it isn’t a final ‘thing’ that stands alone but rather that it is an energetic expression, something passionate and powerful that is part of a larger conversation.I guess I’m talking about participation and being part of a community to bring your writing alive, to give it meaning. That community might be other people you physically meet up with in a workshop group or it might be something less personal. 




Thank you again Sue!
Keep being inspired,
Romi.xxx

Meet Otto...

Hello Poppies,

I just wanted to introduce you to Otto.
He's a soft toy made by my sister- she's donated a surprise softie for a competition I'm holding at The Dreamy Tree (go here) and I particularly wanted to introduce you to him because of his love of books!
He adores to read any good book, including Joyce, Homer and Wilde! I am very impressed!

Bike not included.



I adore the monacle!
(Go here for more infomation on Otto and here for more on the other softies available on the etsy store!)

Keep reading Wilde, Homer and Joyce!
Romi.

Alaska by Sue Saliba review...


What I thought:
After I first saw and heard of Alaska, I couldn't wait to read it... it seemed to be such a different book, so beautiful and intreguing... and I wasn't let down, but lifted up- it wa very different from the brief description's I'd read, there is so much more to it and I loved it!
The cover, is just amazing! I love how if you tilt it the fox on the back dissapears and you only see the dark eyes....
I adored how Sue brought across the Conservation side of the story and it made it a truly amazing read.. not that it wasn't already!
I really loved Alaska, I recommend it and can't wait to hear if you read it!
Just two things though, I expected it would start with Mia living in Melbourne, but she was actually in Alaska when it started, which really surprised me!
And I wondered at the way Mia looked at love, she became very close with Ethan before knowing that she really loved him, loved him at all... and that's not how I think of love... I personally thought she would have known...

Alaska is a must read, and it's very interesting that in the story, there were no capital words, which I normally wouldn't have liked at all (because I love words) but in Alaska it seemed fine... it seemed easy.

Thank you to Penguin Books Australia for this review copy!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chasing Odysseus Winner's Reviews...

Howdie Doodie,

You know how I had the Chasing Odysseus competition a while ago? Well I've got both of the winner's reviews and this is where I'm officially sharing them!
Firstly, what Imogen from Dancing With Dragonfly's... this is what she thought... (first is answers to some questions and second is a review...)



Out of 5 what would you rate it? I'd rate it about four, four and a half. There are a few small things that I wasn't quite happy with, but nothing major. Overall it was a good story.

Would you recommend it/read it again? Yes I would, whole heartedly.

Who was your favourite character? Machaon

What was your favourite thing about the book? The way it showed the Greek and Trojan heroes as ordinary men, rather than some sort of perfect man. Also that fact that the four herdsmen always stuck together and looked out for each other.

Had you ever read anything like it before? No, I hadn't read anything quite like it.

Will you read book 2 when it comes out? Yes, if I can get a copy.





“Chasing Odysseus” is a new take on the old story of the Trojan War. After the war has ended, the Herdsmen, ever loyal to the Trojans, are accused of betraying Troy. Four young Herdsmen set out on a quest to get Odysseus to acknowledge that it was he who found a way into Troy without the help of the Herdsmen.

The heroes, instead of being perfect in every way, have believable characters and faults. I love that. No other book that I’ve ever read has portrayed these characters in such an interesting and enjoyable way.

I loved the four Herdsmen’s dedication to each other, and especially to Hero. I especially liked Machaon, who went through so much and could still keep smiling and questing. I have to say though, that the boat runs close behind Machaon in favourites. A magical boat is something special, and this one is so endearing. I couldn’t help worrying about it when seas were rough.

Overall I thought it was a really good read. I didn’t want to put it down once I had started reading. I would definitely recommend this book wholeheartedly to my friends. I look forwards to reading the second book when it comes out.



And here is what Arielle from Bloggy Balog's review and answers...



*What was your Favourite Part of the Book?
That's a hard one because there were so many parts that were fantastic. When Machaon stood up and took Lycon’s place and his whipping, and how he did it; when Hero went back for her brothers and saved them just in the nick of time; the whole ordeal at the end when they caught up with Odysseus at the Phaeacian island and made friends with Nausicaa and Demodocus. I was so torn up inside that Mac had to leave Nausicaa even though it was clear they had a connection!

*Who was your Favourite Character?
Machaon. He is just, like, the ultimate MAN. His attributes, his... everything is just how I would imagine a great husband, son, father, best friend, and all round person. 

*What did you feel as you read it?
I felt like I was in a different world and it was all that mattered. 
I was nervous for Hero when she had to sail alone, I was cheering for the sons of Agelaus to stay alive when they were Greek captives, I mourned with all four of them when Agelaus was killed, and my heart ached for those Herdsman back home that had to deal with Scamandrios.

*Were there any bits that you didn't like?
I’ve been wracking my brain for over a day now trying to remember or think of something I didn’t like and I honestly can’t. I’m sorry I can’t provide any criticism! The only thing would be the few spelling/typo errors but there really weren’t very many so that is the only, tiny thing I could think of.

*Will you be getting the next book when it comes out?
Totally! Chasing Odysseus ended in a way that I can't not know what has happened to the Herdsmen back home.




Chasing Odysseus was a really fun read. It incorporated many of my favourite elements in stories - adventure, fantasy, Greek mythology, family and just constant excitement! 
I thoroughly enjoyed encountering the many different mythological creatures with the children of Agelaus. And I absolutely loved Hero and her older brothers Machaon, Cadmus and Lycon. 
I couldn't help but adore each of her brothers even more every time they did or said something that showed they love and care for their sister, Hero. Lycon and Cadmus provided comic relief, even through tragic times of adversity. Humour is really important to me so I’m so glad SD Gentill was able to magically weave some in.
And I really must mention that I was delightfully surprised at how easily and how early on I connected with the characters. I immediately adored Machaon, and I literally cried when he took Lycon's place in the beginning! Never in any book I've read have I begun to care so much for characters right from the get go as I did for the sons of Agelaus in Chasing Odysseus.

I'm so glad that you both enjoyed it so much! I personally can't wait for book 2, Trying War to come out! 


There will be heaps more posts next week, so pop by and say hi... ok now I'm rhyming... never a good thing... or maybe it is! I'm off to write a novel! YAY!


(More on that soon!)


Romi.xoxox

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No And Me by Delphine De Vigan review...


What I thought:

I was enitially interested in No and Me because I won a Allen And Unwin competition and had the chance to choose and YA book from their site, and browsing through pages and pages of YA novels, I found this one.
I ended up not choosing it, but got it from the library instead, because it sounded rather spiffily grand!
Well, I took it to Cradle mountain and wondered for a time wether or not I should keep reading it... I did and am very glad that I choose that route.
It was a very different book, unlike anything I've ever come across...  I really loved the fact that it was French and set in Paris, the names, the style... it all made it extra unique!
It is quite a hard subject, a homeless girl, and there were subsiquencially (spelling check?) parts that I didn't like... but it made me think ad left me wondering.
And I liked that.

I recommend it, but warn that there is a little bit of language.


Lovingly,
Romi.x

I'm back!

Hello!
Well, I am back from Cradle Mountain, and it was just awesome! And guesses of guess world what? It snowed last night so it was all snowy! In celebration I did a Vlog! Which will probably take an age to upload, but it's worth it, because it's got snow in it! YAY!
The snow looked so magical that I stayed out on the deckish thing for about 5 minutes talking to myself (ie the video camera) about it.
Bet you're all looking forward to that- sadly I shall have to post it another day as it's not loading... sad.
I hope you enjoy the Video Blog post (when it comes), and the images!

My own watermark! Snowy snow snow.

Me, in coldness of snow.

Me, getting a snowball... in snow.

hedihehe!

*Smiley face*

I did that just for you here.

Little shoes- of my sisters.


Trademark converse.

The next morning.

Rainforest walk.

Aren't my boots smashing?

How very prettyful..

So snowy!


She didn't really like snow.
Much.

WOAH!




And awesomely, when I got back there were books awaiting me in the post! 1 boomerang books critics club book, one proof which I won and one proof which I am reviewing! Can't wait to start! I shall be book posting soon, I forsee! Yippie!
And while I was away, I read a quite unique book by (French) author Delphine De Vigan called No & Me.
You should read it.
Yes you should.
Ought to I suppose.
Lovingly the slightly wet,
Romi.xxx- I shall try to post the vlog soonish.
P.S. I did what I had to do and threw the first snow ball at Edie... I would say that she liked it, only she didn't.
I sort of made her cry... a little.
But I had to give her a snowball! She'll get used to me.
Eventually.
And my snowballs!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Winner of awesome Kate Knapp book announced!

Hello Poppies,

Well, the contest to win Nest Eggs, the amazing Kate Knapp quotation book full of lovely and inspiring images, has closed.
Thank you to everyone who entered and I loved all your entries! Thank you!
I've only just (trust me, just is just, less than a minute- I stopped writing this blog post the choose!) chosen the winner and it was amazingly hard! I couldn't say if it would be easier to choose if I had 20 entries of 2.... both would be just as hard probably!
Well, it was so hard that I was about to give up and decide over the weekend, but just once more looking over, I spotted one (I'd already read it 3 times or so) and it just made my stomach twirl pleasantly... I knew it was the one.

So, thank you Jess, Brittany, Amy and Lili- I loved all your entries! They were all just smashing, but the winner of this amazingly awesome Kate Knapp quotation book is... Krystal! Congratulations! I'll send you an email now and post it next week sometime!


Thank you all! I had so much fun! But I am looking forward to posting again!


Lovingly,
Romi.xoxoxoxo

Friday, June 3, 2011

Howdidoodie!

Hello poppies,

Honestly, I wasn't going to post until the competition I am currently running here was finished (tomorrow! Excitement!) but I really wanted to, so I've made an exception.
Firstly, Enter the competition! It closes tomorrow, Australian time! Open to everyone!  Go here!

Well, Winter has officially set in here, though most peopel it's just Summer- I have no idea how Winter this year will be... it's a total mystery, because all the seasons are weird this year and it feels like Winter's already finished... you never know though, maybe it will snow in my town!

You may've noticed some changes on my blog/s recently (the slash was intentional, by the way)- I've added pages! YAY! Make sure you have a look at them and tell em what you think! I'm very excited!

The John Marsden Prize for Young Writers has officially opened, all the details are here.
I'm pretty sure of what I'm going to be entering, I just have to transcribe it from my notebooky thing that it's in onto the computer! I'm looking forward to that!

The Text Publishing competition has oficially closed, so now I just have to wait! Excitement!

Erm... aah yes, has anybody here heard of Boomerang Books? It's this online, cheepish, bookstore, well they have this thing called the Boomerang Books Critic Club, where you get the change of reviewing upcoming books and what have you... well to enter you have to review three titles on their website and then fill in this form- I did and was the first to get admitted! So far I've signed up to get three books- though there is a list of people who sign up for the same book and once they've read it (time limit is a week) they send it to the next person and it goes on like that, so no keepies sadly.
So I'm waiting on them... I'm number 7 in one, 2 in another and 1 in another... intreguing, no?
Interested? Go here for more details- let me know if you sign up!

Umdidum... well that's about all!
I'm going to Cradle Mountain tomorrow, hopefully it shall snow! Golly, I've still got to do my Ben Lomund post... maybe I'll combine them...?

Lovingly,
Romi.

DON'T FORGET!!!