The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Procrastination at its finest; a hot cup of coffee and a good book.

Happy 2016 to you all.  May your year be filled with endless hour spent between the pages of your favourite books, new and old. 

Holiday round-up

Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas Crown of Midnight - Sarah J. Maas Queen of Shadows - Sarah J. Maas Dragon's Time: Dragonriders of Pern - Anne McCaffrey, Todd J. McCaffrey A Game of Thrones Puzzle Quest: Riddles, Enigmas and Quizzes - Tim Dedopulos

For the first time in a few years I actually received some books for Christmas. My eldest daughter was on the case and managed to pick up a handful of books that we'll both enjoy (she definitely had ulterior motives). Four of the five books I received came from her, and the last came from my mother.


Going to have to pick up the remaining two Throne of Glass books too, just so I can complete the series.  Plenty of reading time over the next few weeks while we enjoy our summer break.  But before I get to them, need to finish off the last 2 books for my PopSugar 2015 reading challenge the Silmarillion by Tolkien (A book you've started but never finished) and Storm Dancer by Jay Kristoff (A book by an author with your initials).  Time to get reading!

The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

Parts of this book hit a little too close to home, which made it difficult to get through without panic attacks of my own, but I'm very glad I did.  


Sometimes I didn't know whether to feel sorry for Rachel, unable to conceive the child she so desired, she became depressed, losing her home, her husband, and eventually her job in the process.  But she was also a pathological liar, lying to herself, to her landlord and friend, her mother, the police, and to entwine herself with the man whose wife disappeared.


There's not too much more I can write about this book without giving away the plot twists... I did thoroughly enjoy the story.


4.5 stars

Santa Is Coming To Bendigo

Santa Is Coming To Bendigo - Steve Smallman This is VERY gimmicky. Every Aussie knows Santa switches out his reindeer for 6 white boomers when he hits Aus, the reindeer can't handle the Summer heat, this very same heat which would have meant no thick foggy night to deal with, and any cloud cover would have most likely mean thunder storms. Also he takes a round about path around Aus to deliver presents (did the Author even look at a map?), coming to Bendigo from Perth on the other side of the country and 2 time zones behind us (oh yes, Australia is much larger than you think).

The images are cute, but again, nothing like Bendigo, our quaint old mining town (technically a city, but more like a large country town) with poppet heads, elaborate fountain, trams and gold rush era grand architecture.

All that said, my kids still enjoy it, and I enjoyed my 9yo reading it to me earlier.
2 stars.

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

Wow, just wow... This is going to take some time to digest.


This I chose as my banned book for the 2015 Pop Sugar reading challenge, and after reading it I can see why.  Drugs, sex and conditioning all combine to create a "utopian" stable society, in which test tube babies are the norm, and the idea of birth and family is disturbing.


The reference to Henry Ford being God and the model T being held sacred amused me greatly, though I'm not entirely sure why.  The clash of cultures between civilised London, where promiscuity and drugs are the norm, and the 'savage' reservation, where marriage and childbirth still occur. is interesting.  


The lengths the world controllers go to, to keep the peace is quite astonishing. Daily rations of the drug Soma, encouraged promiscuity, ideas of religion (except Ford) abolished, art which does not promote their ideals banned.  Ideals which, in part, remind me of the Nazi ideals of the era in which the book was written.  


Stories of human nature and conditioning always seem to leave a mark on me, this one is no different. I gave Brave New World 4/5 stars.




Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas

I picked up the audio version of this a few weeks ago during an audible sale, figuring I could listen to it during the Christmas/Summer break.  Didn't quite make it last that long...


This book really does live up to the hype, I put it on while I did some housework, and just couldn't turn it off when I was done washing dishes.  My teenager daughter, who usually listens to music while doing her chores, was also enthralled, to the point that we both stayed up til 3am (thankfully it was a Saturday) to finish it, instead of coming back to it another day.


17 year old, Caleana Sardothien, master assassin, betrayed and thrown to rot in the salt mines of Endovier.  That is until she receives an unexpected visitor, the crown prince of Adarlan, Dorian, and his royal guard captain, Chaol Westfall.  The two offer Celeana a proposition she cannot refuse, compete in a tournament to become the King's new "Champion" and after a few years her freedom, or remain rotting away in her salt mine prison, a prison she would return to if she were to try to escape, to harm her captors, or lose (assuming she wasn't killed in the process) any of the challenges thrown at her.


Brash, proud and confident, the young assassin quickly discovered that the prince needed her more than she needed him, for she had nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Knowing this she pushes the limits of her hosts patience and makes outlandish demands or behaves in a way that would otherwise have a person imprisoned, or worse.


Over the course of the tournament, several of the other competitors are discovered dead, torn apart by what seems to be a wild animal.  Though Chaol tries to solve the mysteries behind these deaths, Celeana does a little investigating of her own and uncovers a horrifying truth.


I just love Celeana, she's strong in mind and body, and not afraid to throw some figurative punches to get what she wants and needs.  She's smart and knows her mind, she's also bilingual, which it seems none of the castle's inhabitants are.  She tries not to dwell on the horrors of her past, finding her parents murdered when she was 8, raised as an assassin by the man who took her in, and the year she spent in the salt mines.  


Celeana's bond with Princess Nehemia was nice, Celeana being the only person inside the castle who could speak the princess' native tongue.  Though initially kept apart for fear the assassin would make an attempt on the princess' life, the two were soon spending a fair amount of time together while Celeana taught the princess 'English' (I don't remember whether the language was actually named, but since the book is in English that's what I'm calling it).


It was also nice to note that at 18 she was still allowed to have a childish side, the candy incident made me giggle.  It makes me realise that there are so many other YA novels that don't allow young women the chance to still have a childish side, Hunger Games/Divergent/TFioS as examples, even though the female leads are all younger than Celeana.  At a slightly older age, I still love to stuff chocolate in my mouth Christmas morning, breakfast be damned.


The romance seems just enough without going over board... Though this is the book I made my love triangle read for the Popsugar challenge, I feel her relationship with Chaol is more of a sibling bond.  While there was definite fireworks between her and Dorian, it was glad to see a character who can use her brain to take a step back from a relationship and not go completely googoo eyed over the first man who shows interest (like so many romance plots before).

All in all, as I said earlier, I was really immersed in this story. It's well written and leaves you guessing, I can't wait to pick up the rest of the series, which I hear is even better.

I gave Throne of Glass 5/5 stars.

The Amazing Book is Not on Fire - Dan Howell & Phil Lester

The Amazing Book is Not on Fire - Phil Lester, Dan Howell

This book is definitely one for Dan and Phil fans or Phans if you prefer.  This is the textual embodiment of their YouTube existence.  I really feel that you have to at least be familiar with their YouTube channels (danisnotonfire, amazingphil & danandphilgames) to really appreciate this book.  


This book definitely has the Dan and Phil feel about it, it's very them.  Their personalities are clear and strong throughout.  For me there's a certain level of kinship I feel with these two, rather tall, self proclaimed nerds. Clumsy, socially awkward and game loving are all traits I can personally identify with, though they're all a good foot taller than I am, and maybe a few years younger.  

I believe that it is their honesty and their relatability that make them the YouTube power house that they are.  


I give Dan and Phil's book 4.5/ 5 stars.

Scarlet - Marissa Meyer

Scarlet - Marissa Meyer

The second installment of the Lunar Chronicles is a retelling of the story of Red Riding Hood.  The story continues directly from where Cinder left off, with the news of Cinder's downfall at the New Beijing palace.  


This story focuses on a young french girl, Scarlet, who is desperate to find her grandmother after authorities rule her disappearance as non-suspicious, believing the old lady to be mad.  Scarlet doesn't feel this is the case and continues to be preoccupied with finding her.


A chance meeting with a strong silent stranger, while making her vegetable delivery rounds, Scarlet finds herself thrown into a world of what can only be described as difficult. Learning of her grandmother's connection to the now fugitive Cinder, Scarlet is imprisoned and manipulated, only to have her grandmother die before they can complete their escape.


Another brilliant adaptation of an old classic, another I just couldn't put down.  This ties in with some of the mini-stories Meyer created to accompany her series. I'll be eager to read Cress and Winter in the new year, and of course the other smaller stories that fall in between.

Scarlet gets 5/5 stars.


Solarversia: The Year Long Game - Toby Downton

Solarversia - Toby Downton

I received a digital copy of this book from the author, in exchange for my honest review.


The story of a teen girl, Nova, who with her friend Sushi sign up to play a year long game to win money and the chance to help design the next year long game.  Along the way Nova is struck with tragedy when Sushi is killed in a terrorist attack on a gaming cafe.  With the assistance of her friend Burner, Nova vows to track down Sushi's killers putting herself and those she loves in more danger than she realises.


The novel is well written and quite clever, I enjoyed the gaming aspects and the augmented and virtual realities in use.  However, pacing issues with the story made it feel as though it was dragging in some places.  


I was not a fan of Nova, she really didn't appeal to me.  Her personality seemed to be somewhere between narcissist and spoiled brat.  Using people to get ahead in both the game and life.  And if anyone called her out, or disagreed with her she's have a tantrum.

Charlie is just flat. A 2 dimensional character with no interest to the reader, very little effort was put into building him into anything more than Nova's love interest.


Burner is the character I liked most, and in my opinion the true hero of the story.  He's described as the nerdy genius that helps Nova in game and out.  The closest thing she has to a real world friend after Sushi's unfortunate demise.   If anyone deserved the victory it was this guy.


I'm not writing this book off completely, like I said it was quite clever in some aspects, so if you are a fan of Ready Player One I would suggest checking this out, but don't have high hopes.

I give Solarversia 3.5/5 stars.

Jessica Jones #1

— feeling excited
Marvel's Jessica Jones #1 - Michael Gaydos, David Mack, Brian Michael Bendis

Just a short little comic in the lead up to the new Marvel series of the same name.  Definitely picking up more of this series as it gets released.

Sabriel - Garth Nix

Sabriel - Garth Nix

Firstly, I feel ashamed that I hadn't heard about this series, nor that Garth Nix is an Aussie, before it was recommended to me by an American friend... Way to support local authors me XD


I quite enjoyed the premise behind this, and I'm always happy to find things that negate the ability to use fire arms.  Magical marks called charter marks create a 

Sabriel, an 18 yo woman in her last few weeks of boarding school in the new kingdom, receives a cryptic message from her father located in the old kingdom. He is the Abhorsen, a necromancer with the ability to travel between life and death, whose job it is to send the dead off peacefully and to prevent the spirits of the dead from coming back to the living world.  


Unprepared for what she may find, Sabriel sets out to find her father with the assistance the Abhorsen's aide Mogget, who due to magical binds cannot share much of the information he has.  On her journey, Sabriel is chased by a most terrifying creature, a Mordicant, the worst type of dead spirit and his lesser spirit minions.  She also befriends a member of the royal guard, Touchstone, a man who had been trapped as the figurehead of a ship for 200 years until she set him free.  


Soon Sabriel discovers that her father's disappearance is just a small part of a much larger plot to allow the dead spirits free reign over the living world.  Together the trio set out to rescue both kingdoms from the dangers that are fast approaching. 


I gave Sabriel 4.5/5 stars, and placing the rest of the series on my to-read list.



Two new arrivals yesterday!  Neither of which break my self imposed book ban, since both were ordered before I put the ban in place!


Little Women I picked up when my daughter ordered herself a few books with her birthday money last month, they just took some time getting here because one of her books was a pre-order, so they bundled the whole lot together.


The Shadow over Innsmouth is the third installment of the Littlest Lovecraft children's series.  If the previous 2 books are anything to go on, I'm in for a real treat when I read this one.  I hope they plan more Kickstarters in the future.

I am the Caffeinated Bibliophile and I'm an addict...

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban - Christina Lamb, Malala Yousafzai

I just can't help myself, but at least it's books and nothing more worrisome.


As I was wondering through the ever shrinking book department in my local Kmart, I came across a book that I feel every woman should read, I am Malala.  My inner feminist over threw my self control and I now have yet another book to find a home for.  


I'm itching to get started, but I must finish those I'm currently reading first. Not to mention those pesky uni assignments that keep cropping up :)

That's what I'm telling myself.

Wool: The Graphic Novel (Kindle Serial) - Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Hugh Howey, Jimmy Broxton Spider-Gwen #1 Marvel Comics 2015 - Jason Latour Star Wars Princess Leia #1 (First Printing; Marvel 2015) - Mark Waid, Kieron Gillen Thor #1 - Russell Dauterman, Jason Aaron

While I didn't technically buy books today, I did pick up a few digital comics for my girls and I to peruse.  But since they're a) comics and b) digital, they don't really count towards my self imposed book buying ban, right? Right?  Ah well, at least I don't have to rearrange my physical book cases to fit these in.


Since I'd been reading the Graphic Novel version of the Hobbit the last few days, I'd been inspired to find some other adaptations to read... and by inspired, I mean I was procrastinating typing up a lab report that's due next week.  

So I did my usual, check out what free comics Comixology has, and after downloading those noticed a couple of sales they were having. I picked up Wool: The Graphic Novel, an adaptation of Hugh Howey's books of the same name.  Not that I've read the Wool yet, it's been recommended to me numerous times and I really enjoyed Sand last year, so I thought the graphic version might be a good choice for study breaks.

Since I'm always on the look out for ways to encourage my middle daughter to read, and comics are one of the few ways that seems to draw her in, I picked up some of the Marvel discounted comics too, especially since they all featured female leads.


I'm quite looking forward to reading the first issue of Thor 2014, which caused a stir by making the god of thunder a woman. I also picked up a couple of Spider variants: Gwen #1 (2015) and Woman #1 (2014), She Hulk #1 (2014) and the one I think will be the biggest hit, Princess Leia #1 (2015).


They also had the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 (2015), Ms Marvel #1 (2014), Black Widow #1 (2014) and Captain Marvel #1 (2014), all of which we had already. I've only read the first 2 so far, and I highly recommend them if you're looking for a good "girl power" read.


Now to stop myself from reading them before I get this report done.  It's going to be hard.

Help me prove my Math lecturer wrong!

— feeling nerd

Hello my fellow bibliophiles!

As I've mentioned in the past (but maybe not here?) I recently headed back to Uni. As such am doing a statistics component for which I have to complete a study on social media use.

I wanted to look at device(s) used and hours spent on Goodreads, so I'm hoping you can help me by filling out the survey linked in this post!  

I need a minimum of 30 responses, which include age and gender.
All responses are anonymous.


As an added incentive, I wanted to prove my mathematics lecturer wrong, He seems to think I'll get a lot of 0 hour responses, I think there are a lot more of us who enjoy reading, and sharing our experiences than there are people who would want to share math stuff ;-)

Thanks in advance <3

A Hat Full of Sky - Terry Pratchett The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern Dreamcatcher - Stephen King Misery - Stephen King Thinner - Richard Bachman, Stephen King The Iron Tree: Book One of The Crowthistle Chronicles - Cecilia Dart-Thornton To Ride Pegasus - Anne McCaffrey The Great Train Robery / The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton Princess in Love - Meg Cabot The Wall and the Wing - Laura Ruby
— feeling ashamed

Had some wins the last few days... 46 books for $54 from the local book fair, 3 happy children and one rather happy mummy.  Including, but not limited to those listed. Even found a copy of The Hobbit in far better condition than my own copy for 50c!


After spending many hours following trying to make room in my various bookshelves, I promised myself I wouldn't buy any more books until I'd read everything I already have...  


Then found a couple more Pratchett's and The Night Circus today at our newly opened local book shop at $6.  Couldn't even last 3 days without buying more books.  At least it's a healthier addiction than most.


And for real this time (I hope) no more books until I've read everything in my book case...