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Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Micah freely admits that she's a compulsive liar. And that may be the one honest thing he'll ever tell you. Over the years she's duped her classmates, her teachers, and even her parents. But when her boyfriend, Zach, dies under brutal circumstances, the shock might be enough to set her straight. Or maybe not. Especially when lying comes as naturally to her as breathing. Was Micah dating Zach? Or was Sarah his real girlfriend? And are the stories Micah tells about inheriting a "family gene" real or are they something that only exists in her mind?
Breathtaking in its plotting, and narrated by one of the most psychologically complex young women to emerge since Sybil, Liar is a roller-coaster that will have listeners grasping for the truth. Honestly.

Honestly, I picked this book up because it was a new item at my library. Reading the back blurb didn't really interest me but I borrowed it anyway. To my surprise, when I read the first page I was immediately hooked!

There are three parts to the story: Telling the Truth, Telling the True Truth and The Actual Real Truth. The main character Micah tells her story. We read about her family history, what happened before and what happened after/at present time. She tells you that she is a compulsive liar and this makes you question the events that she explains, trying to figure out which parts she's telling is truth and which is lie (which is frustrating because they pile up). The author has cleverly constructed sentences so as to not give too much away and allow the imagination to run freely. I don't particularly like Micah because of her disturbing thoughts and characteristics (lying included), but her voice grabbed my attention from the very start.

The interesting thing is that the book could pretty much be a whole lie because of a certain supernatural element Micah talks about and the fact she mentioned she's a really big liar! Pushing that aside, it was thought-provoking that the whole 'supernatural thing' is viewed not as cool as many YA books make it out to be. The take on being a freak because of it and steps in controlling it make the supernatural element seem realistic and plausible.

I initially thought the Aussie cover was pointless (just a blob of funky red paint that spells out Liar) but after reading the book, I've come to like it because it's symbolic and fitting to the story.

I'm glad that I gave this book a chance and that the blurb did not give a 'secret' chunk of the book away. The twists and turns were interesting and although the writing was choppy by switching from past to present and vice versa, each event was like a piece of the puzzle. Once you finish the book, you get a fairly complete puzzle. (Hmm...Or a cleverly crafted lie?)


Winter Reading Challenge complete!

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Thursday, February 18, 2010
Amazon product description: As an incoming freshman, Percy isn't expecting his high school orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.

In this fourth installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos's army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop them, Percy and his demigod friends will set out on a quest through the Labyrinth-a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn. Full of humor and heart-pounding action, this fourth book promises to be their most thrilling adventure yet.

The fourth novel of Percy Jackson and the Olympians is the packed full of action and adventure while managing to develop the characters. The Battle of the Labyrinth was a really fun read filled with Greek mythology. In this installment we are introduced to a range of mythical beings, items and places which were intriguing and which for me, really added faces to the 'monsters' Percy and Camp Half-blood are facing and will have to face. I really liked the ongoing glimpses of Daedalus' life in Percy's dreams, the mention of events in previous books to refresh my memory and the revelation of the meaning behind the Oracle's foreboding words. Greek mythology aside, I learnt many other things (like what a cattle guard was!) The Battle of the Labyrinth was definitely a page turner!


Waiting on Wednesday

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights anticipated upcoming releases.

Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights anticipated upcoming releases.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them--Set--has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe--a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

Release date: 4th May 2010

I am currently reading Percy Jackson #4 by Rick Riordan and it's really engrossing! The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid sounds great and I can't wait to read about Egyptian mythology!

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Blurb from
When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.
Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back -- if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her -- until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.
ICE is a modern-day retelling of “East o’ the Sun, West o’ the Moon”. I've never read that fairytale but ICE is one of the most unique and strangest books I've ever read. It was an adventure that I never expected. The imagery is so strong in this book you can't help but picture the setting and transporting yourself there. The idea of Munaqsri, caretakers (every species has their own) who transfer and transport souls was an interesting and imaginative concept.

I like development of characters and romance, and unfortunately ICE disappointed me in that area. I read tonnes of reviews that this is a really romantic tale but I didn't find that to be the case. Cassie has to marry the Polar Bear King and he promises to help free her mother from the trolls. Instead of reading about Cassie getting closer and more comfortable with the Bear, we are told that weeks pass and she has adjusted to his company. At first, I was irked about the idea of a polar bear and a human but was also intrigued. If I could read more about the development in their relationship I might have been OK about the idea but instead I was constantly bothered by it throughout the book especially since they have a 'wedding night' out of the blue.

The Polar Bear, called 'Bear' by Cassie, wasn't fleshed out enough. I found him neutral - I didn't like or hate him. He rarely spoke and was missing for more than half of the book. The parts when he was able to turn human form and why, was not explained. Many characters were introduced but they were put aside after Part 1.

Cassie's journey became the focus of Part 2 and 3 of the book. I had to constantly remind myself that she was 18 years old. Her dialogue was occasionally awkward especially considering she has been in a secluded place without people her age for most of her life. Cassie was strong from start to finish, never giving up her goal which is admirable, but I never warmed up to her. She kept feeling sorry for herself when she herself was mostly to blame, in my opinion.

ICE felt like a rollercoaster (with a lengthy, boring part in the middle). It started off really good and then slow and then picked up for a short but great ending. I didn't see that type of ending coming so it was a surprise and finished the story off nicely.