Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Top 100 YA reads: Which ones have you read?

 The Top 100 YA reads of 2010 is a list collated by the wonderful Adele at Persnickety Snark, and the full list can be found here. Thank you Adele and everyone else who helped make the list, for taking the time and effort put into making it a success!

From Adele's page:
"Voting took place over five weeks at the end of April and throughout May. 

735 people shared their top ten choices of the best YA titles. The participants come from across the globe ...and 80% were female. "

The ones listed in purple bold are ones I have read.
The books listed in blue italics are books on my TBR list.

Top 100 YA novels of 2010:
1. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorceror’s) Stone – J.K. Rowling
3. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
4. Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
5. Northern Lights (The Golden Compass)- Philip Pullman
6. The Truth About Forever – Sarah Dessen
7. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
8. The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
9. Twilight – Stephenie Meyer
10. This Lullaby – Sarah Dessen
11. Looking for Alaska – John Green
12. Just Listen – Sarah Dessen
13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
14. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
15. City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
16. On the (Jellicoe Road) – Melina Marchetta
17. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling
19. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
20. Along for the Ride – Sarah Dessen
21. Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater
22. Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead
23. Graceling – Kristin Cashore
24. Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
25. Sloppy Firsts – Megan McCafferty
26. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
27. Alanna: The First Adventure – Tamora Pierce
28. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

29. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling
30. Uglies – Scott Westerfeld
31. A Great and Terrible Beauty – Libba Bray
32. Tomorrow, When the War Began – John Marsden
33. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – E. Lockhart
34. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
35. The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin
36. Paper Towns – John Green
37. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling
38. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
39. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn – Betty Smith
40. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie
41. Lock and Key – Sarah Dessen
42. The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman
43. Evernight – Claudia Gray
44. Sabriel – Garth Nix
45. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling
46. Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl

47. Forever – Judy Blume
48. I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
49. Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine
50. The Princess Diaries – Meg Cabot
51. Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
52. Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones
53. The Dark is Rising – Susan Cooper
54. Hush, Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick
55. Saving Francesca – Melina Marchetta
56. Second Helpings – Megan McCafferty
57. Dreamland – Sarah Dessen
58. Eclipse – Stephenie Meyer
59. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
60. Fire – Kristin Cashore
61. The Chocolate War – Robert Cormier
62. Weetzie Bat – Francesca Lia Block
63. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
64. Looking for Alibrandi – Melina Marchetta
65. How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff
66. City of Glass – Cassandra Clare
67. Keeping the Moon – Sarah Dessen
68. Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer
69. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging – Louise Rennison
70. If I Stay – Gayle Forman
71. The King of Attolia – Megan Whalen Turner
72. Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson
73. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast – Robin McKinley
74. The Blue Sword – Robin McKinley
75. Feed – M.T. Anderson
76. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants – Ann Brashares

77. Go Ask Alice – Anonymous
78. Wicked Lovely – Melissa Marr
79. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
80. Someone Like You – Sarah Dessen
81. The Forest of Hands and Teeth – Carrie Ryan
82. Jacob Have I Loved – Katherine Paterson
83. The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
84. Poison Study – Maria V. Snyder
85. Shadow Kiss – Richelle Mead
86. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi
87. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
88. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
89. A Ring of Endless Light – Madeleine L’Engle
90. Glass Houses – Rachel Caine
91. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party – M.T. Anderson
92. Walk Two Moons – Sharon Creech
93. Whale Talk – Chris Crutcher
94. Perfect Chemistry – Simone Elkeles
95. Going Too Far – Jennifer Echols
96. The Last Song – Nicholas Sparks
97. Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver
98. Hatchet – Gary Paulsen
99. The Pigman – Paul Zindel
100. The Hero and the Crown – Robin McKinley
Other bloggers' lists:
Liberty Falls Down
The Ramblings of a Book Addict
The Wormhole
Madigan Reads

I've read 32. Still got a long way to go....

Which ones have you read? Which ones do you recommend? Leave your list in the comments below!

Happy reading, 

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Tina's Tutorials #3: How to make Pages

Pages are seperate posts on your blog that can be linked to via a header.
It is a common way on blogger to link to review policies, contact information, profiles, etc. The advantages of having pages is that links to important information is easily accessible to others visiting your blog.

How to make pages: a step by step guide

Step 1:
In your blogger dashboard, click on design.

Step 2:
You should now be in the "Design" tab.  Go to the "Page Elements" subtab.

Step 3:
Under your header, click on "Add a Gadget".

Step 4:
This box should pop up. Click on the + button next to pages.

 Pages should now be added to your blog design. Save your Page Elements.

Step 5:
To edit your page elements, go to the Posting tab, and click on the "Edit Pages" subtab that should now have appeared.

Step 6:
To make a new page, click on the blue rectangular button that says "New Page". Once it has been created, existing pages will appear below, and you may edit, delete or view them.

To edit the header:

Step 1:
Click on the Design tab.

Step 2:
It should bring you to this page:

Click on "Template Designer".

Step 3:
Once you are in the "Blogger Template Designer", click on the Advanced tab.

Step 4:
In the Advanced tab, click on "Tabs Text".

What you need to edit is the text color (how the text of the page will appear in your header when it is not selected), and the selected color (how the text will appear when the page is selected).

Experiment around until you get it right.

Step 5:
Remaining in the Advanced tab, click on "Tabs Background".
What you need to edit is the background color (how the color of your header will appear when the page is not selected), and the selected color (how the color of your header will appear when the page is selected).
Experiment around until you get it right.

Step 6:
Remember to Save your progess by clicking on "Apply to Blog". Then click on "View Blog" to view the changes you've made.

That's it! I hope you found this useful!

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. If there is anything blogger related that you would like to ask about or request a tutorial for, I would be happy to oblige and help.

For more tutorials, check out the page Tina's Tips and Tricks.

Happy blogging,

In My Mailbox #3

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (review coming up!)  
Borrowed from Em/Addy - thanks, you are amazing & wonderful!

I loved loved loved it!

Demon Princess by Michelle Rowen
(from Allen & Unwin, as part of their "Bookmark It" review program. Not for my blog, but I'll still review it here)

This has a very Meg Cabot-esque feel to it, which I'm loving!

Happy weekend,

P.S. Psst...post a link to your mailbox, and I'll be sure to visit it!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Title: Fallen
Series: Fallen (Book 1 of 4)

Author: Lauren Kate
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Fallen what? Angels, of course!
 The cover is made of awesomeness. While I was reading it, nobody could resist from plucking it out of my hands for a good ogling! Definitely one of the prettiest covers I have ever seen.

Blurb (randomhouse site):

"There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story."

Book trailer - quite awesome, a must watch!


Fallen is a haunting romance set in a reform school, where the world of Luce Price collides with the mysterious life of the beautiful Daniel Grigori.

We are immediately plunged into Luce’s world, with her first day at reform school. I can safely say that the setting for this book is vastly different to the others I have read – reform school in a cemetery setting. In this aspect, it was very unique and unexpected.

The writing is quite exquisite - I enjoyed the vivid descriptions, and the way with which Lauren Kate approached writing from two vastly different eras.

However, I felt that this book spent too much time trying to building up to the final scene. Luce spends a good chunk of the book getting accustomed to the school, and making tiny, predictable discoveries about Daniel.

As a result, I felt like Lauren Kate had started many mysterious plot elements, but then promptly left them hanging. By the end of reading the book, I hadn’t learnt much about any of the characters, leaving me terribly confused.

But the amount of romantic tension in this book is invigorating. The words took off from the page and merged into my own emotions. I yearned, with all my heart, for Luce to be with Daniel. I look forward to reading Torment, he book that will hopefully contain answers to all my questions about Fallen.

Overall, I felt that despite what I have said above, the book was a good read. I recommend it, especially if you lovedTwilight.

This book is due to become a four-part series.
Book 2, Torment, is being released on the 28th of September, 2010.
Book 3 is called Passion, and is due to be released in 2011.

Rating: ♥ ♥   -Sexy, scary, but similar.

Reviews of Fallen that I love:
Kelli at I'd So Rather Be Reading

●▬▬▬๑۩ Lots of love, Tina ۩๑▬▬▬▬●

Friday, 27 August 2010

Book Blogger Hop / Follow Friday #2

Book Blogger Hop

Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkee, where people spread the book love by following around the blogosphere.

Book Blogger Hop is a meme hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books, where book bloggers can "connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!"

Question of the Week (Follow Friday): Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?

I'll be posting it in my sidebar...but here's what it looks like:

5 hearts - AMAZING!! How have I lived without this book before? It is the oxygen to my lungs, the water to my fish, the tea to my cup!

4 hearts - This book was good. Like, really, really good. Like, read it good.

3 hearts - 'Twas a decent book - pretty okay, but no chocolate for it.

2 hearts - Hmmm...ahh...it was...okay.

1 heart - This book was meh. Just wasn't me.

DNF - not even a heart. :( I didn't finish it.

Leave a comment below so I can check out your blog and follow, and please stop by and have a look at a couple of my reviews in the sidebar.

●▬▬▬๑۩ Happy Friday, Tina ۩๑▬▬▬▬●

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

One Lovely Blog Award

I'm very excited - I just got my first award from both Liberty Falls Down and  The Bookish Snob, who are both very lovely people. I'd also love to credit the person who started the award. It is beautiful.

Here’s how it works:
  1. Accept the award, post in on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
  2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
  3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know that they have been chosen for this award.

There's so many people I wanted to pick, but here goes (in alphabetical order):
(I tried my best to look to see if you'd already gotten the award, so my sincerest apologies if you have!)
    So check out all these lovely people (with their wonderful blogs), and once again, thanks to Liberty Falls Down and  The Bookish Snob.

    Edit: Thank you also to {...is a book whore} who also gave me the award.

    Lots Of Love,

    "Waiting on" Wednesday #1

    Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where bloggers can spotlight and share "upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating".

    So, Mockingjay came out yesterday, but I have to put it here: (so excited!)

    US Cover
    UK Covers

    The Chronicles of Vlad Tod Books 3 and 4 are coming out in Australia in September:

    Book 4 - Eleventh Grade Burns
    Book 3 - Ten Grade Bleeds
    (I've always wanted to read this series, so I'm ecstatic that it's come to Australia)

    It has the awesomest book trailer ever! Check it out: (from Penguin Australia's Youtube)

    So thanks for visiting my blog, and I'll be very interested to know what you're looking forwards to.

    Happy reading, 
    the very excited Tina.

    Tuesday, 24 August 2010

    Teaser Tuesday #1

    First off: Thank you all so much for 50 fantabulous followers! I am beyond excited - woot! *squeals and dances*

    "Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! "
    So my current read is Fallen, by Lauren Kate.

    Fallen, Book 1
    Torment, Book 2

    ●▬▬▬▬▬▬๑۩  ۩๑▬▬▬▬▬▬●
    "They were panting, nose to nose, Daniel's eyes scared. Between their bodies and the statue, the were only a few inches of space."
    - pg 98, "Fallen" by Lauren Kate
    ●▬▬▬▬▬▬๑۩  ۩๑▬▬▬▬▬▬●

    Ooooh...why are they panting so close together? And why are their bodies so close to a statue? You'll have to read it to find out!

    So, leave the link to your teaser below, or post a comment with two non-spoilery sentences from a book you're reading.

    Book vs Blockbuster: Percy Jackson 1

    Welcome to my first Book versus Blockbuster post, featuring Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. I have to admit, I read the book after watching the movie, so my opinion might be a little different to what it would have been had I read the book before the movie.


    Trailer: (from Youtube)

    Wow. I was blown away by the special effects. It was clever how they managed to enlarge the size of the gods, and the flying scenes were made of awesome. I have to admit, Logan Lerman was quite hot! Kinda reminds me of Aaron Johnson in Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.

    Jake Abel was cute too...and did you know that the actress who played Annabeth was twenty-three?! She's very young and pretty though, kinda like an older version of Selena Gomez.

    It wasn't Avatar, or Harry Potter for that matter,  but the CG was pretty amazing. The special effects pulled off the lightning, The actors were quite good - I was expecting inexperienced kid actors, but the leads actors (as they generally are), were in the late teens to early twenties, and boy, they could act!

    The scene with Medusa was vair vair scary - the use of film music (and I love film music - just had to add that) added to the dramatic, suspenseful scene, and gave it that extra special something.

    On a side note: have you ever watched a dramatic moment in a film without the sound on? It looks absolutely nuts, (and kinda ruins the moment) so try it.

    And then, there was the fight scene! I loved that it was on top of the Empire State building. They were flying in the sky, shooting lightning blots at each other, demolishing stone balconies - it was epic, fantastic stuff.

    Some great screen-shots:


    Title: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
    Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
    Author: Rick Riordan
    Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

    Blurb (from Puffin):

    "The gods of Olympus are alive in the 21st Century.  They still fall in love with mortals and have children who might become great heroes, but most of these children meet horrible fates at the hands of monsters by the age of twelve.  Only a few learn the truth of their identity and make it to Half Blood Hill, a Long Island summer camp dedicated to training young demigods.  Such is the revelation that launches young Percy Jackson on a quest to help his real father, Poseidon, avert a war among the gods.
    With the help of Grover the satyr and Annabeth the daughter of Athena, Percy must journey across the United States to catch a thief who has stolen the original weapon of mass destruction - Zeus' master bolt.  Along the way, they face a host of mythological enemies determined to stop them.  Most of all, Percy must come to terms with a father he has never known, and an Oracle that has warned him of betrayal by a friend."

    The books were awesome too! (Otherwise they wouldn't have been made into a movie - d'oh!)

    I was surprised that in the books, Percy was twelve, yet in the movies, they moved his age up to sixteen - I suppose it was to allow the movies to appeal to a wider age group, as the books are what I would classify as middle grade to early adolescent. The writing was clear, understandable, and the sense of adventure would appeal to a lot of young and reluctant boys.

    The later books go into a lot of depth about the Greek Gods (Rick Riordan did his research well), and while they are usually of the same basic essence, the adventures are still fresh and exciting.

    (Percy blows up a school, goes to Camp Half-Blood, sent off to a dangerous, life-risking adventure, survives against the odds by killing a couple of monsters/outsmarting the gods, goes back to camp all happy, and is packed home again. And repeat.)

    A few parts of the movie were changed for dramatic effect, but I still felt that it stayed in essence, true to the book. The book was an easy but addictive read. I'd absolutely recommend it to lovers of adventure novels.

    The verdict?

    Both! (Or maybe the movie a little more...*winks*)

    I actually liked the movie very much. It was clever how they managed to squeeze so many adventures into one movie, yet still maintained that sense of time. It flowed well, and didn't feel rushed at all.

    Overall, it was a great book to movie adaptation, and while the book provided more details and background story, the movie's special effects took my breath away.

    So if you haven't yet, absolutely go get the movie on DVD and watch it! And borrow out some books from the library and settle in for an epic read.

    Lol (lots of love), 

    Sunday, 22 August 2010

    Review: Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

    Title: Only the Good Spy Young
    Author: Ally Carter
    Series: Gallagher Girls (Book 4)
    Genre: Teenage Spies
    Publisher: Hachette Australia

    Blurb from GG site:
    "Cammie returns in Book 4 of the bestselling Gallagher Girls, but this semester danger is closer than she's ever imagined with the discovery of a traitor in the Gallagher Academy...

    When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. She just didn’t know that life would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when Cammie faced off against a mysterious organisation called the Circle of Cavan. Now even Cammie 'The Chameleon' can’t hide.

    Danger has followed her to London where she discovers one of her most trusted allies has been labelled a double agent. The Gallagher Girls quickly realise that the Circle’s agents are closer than they’d feared -- maybe even within the Gallagher Academy’s own walls. Cammie and her roomates must call upon old friends if they want to find the traitor at their beloved school before it's too late..."

    For those of you that haven't read the Gallagher Girls series, I absolutely recommend you to. The first books at least. But before that, I'll have to fill you in on what the storyline is all about:

    Cammie Morgan is a spy-in-training, at the secretive Gallagher Academy For Exceptional Young Woman. Through out the books, Cammie encounters several dangerous situations, finding herself in need of her friends.

    What I love most about these books is the light-hearted, kickass, spy missions the girls get up to. The tongue-in-cheek voice of the story is very appropriate for young readers, and gives the stories a fun edge. 
    I also loved the romance between Cammie and Josh in the first book, and then the romance between Cammie and Zach in the second and third books, and the spy references make the series all the more enjoyable.

    I don't know if it's just me though, but I found the fourth book in the series to be less captivating than the other books. I thought that there were too many strings hanging for the next book, and that this one didn't really go anywhere in terms of developing Cammie's realtionship with much of the cast. It is action-packed, but I found that it was too much like the other books in the series, which were comparatively more refreshing in nature.

    It just felt like the same plotline done over, and that nothing too dramatic happened. It was just "the Circle wants Cammie, we have to protect her". But after a whole novel, we still don't get any answers.
    However, I hope that the next two books in the series will be much better, and that they will attempt to tie up all the loose ends.

    I still love Ally Carter's style of writing, and the way that she occasionally starts chapters with Pro vs Con lists, and mission details. Cammie really does come through as a character who has both Pros and Cons herself.
    Ally Carter is working on the second book of another series, The Heist Society, and I cross my fingers in the hope that it proves to be as good as its predecessor.

    On another note, the covers of the books are absolutely wonderful. I found out on Ally's blog that they tried to get the same model for each book, but was unsuccessful. I, however, thought that the reasoning behind this was to show how Cammie can really be a "Chameleon" and change her physical appearance. End message? The covers work well!

    And the titles are very clever:
    1. I'd tell you I'd love you, but then I'd have to kill you.
    2. Cross my heart and hope to spy.
    3. Don't judge a girl by her cover.
    4. Only the good spy young.

    If you'll notice, they are all based on cliches, yet the puns are very appropriate for the books. Thumbs up!

    Okay, so I feel that I was too mean in this review - it was a great book, but was a little bit of a letdown from what I came to expect from Ally Carter. But the rest of the series are great, and please don't let this review of book 4 stop you from reading them.

    Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥  

    ●▬▬▬๑۩ Happy reading, Tina ۩๑▬▬▬▬●

    In My Mailbox #2: Two lonely books

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

    Here's a little delve into my mailbox bookshelf at the moment (basically, what I got this week from the library/friend):

    Fallen by Lauren Kate - very kindly loaned to me by a friend - thanks, V!

    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (review can be found here)

    And...that's it! *sadface*

    I've still got Liar to read, and hopefully Catching Fire sometime this week! Hopefully. Suffering from Hunger Games withdrawal here. *shakes fist at bookshelf*

    And I'll be posting a review of the entire Gallagher Girls series later today - which I just finished this morning. It was good, but...you'll hear the verdict. ;)

    Happy reading,
    Tina. xoxo

    P.S. Psst...post a link to your mailbox, and I'll be sure to visit it!

    Saturday, 21 August 2010

    Amazing ARCs International Competition

    Carol from Carol's Prints and Sara from Babbling Flow are having two AMAZING ARC (Advance Reader's Copy) contests. You could win these:

    Beautiful Darkness 

    ARC of PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White
    Immortal Beloved                     

    ARC of DARK WATER by Laura McNeal

    Dark Water

    TWO ARCs of RADIANCE by Alison Noel 


    ARC of JANE by April Lindner


    ARC of DARK SONG by Gail Giles

    Dark Song

    ARC of THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS by Clare B. Dunkle


    ITSELF  by Andrew Clements 

    BETWEEN US by Kirby Larson

    If you lived here 

    So...how to enter these awesome contests? 

     Entries are open until September 6th at Carol's blog here.

    Entries are open until September 8th 
    at Sara's blog here.