A Small Madness Review

A Small Madness by Dianne Touchell

A Small Madness

Publication date: January 28th 2015

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Number of pages: 240

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Source: Received in exchange for review (thank you so much Allen & Unwin!!). This is my honest opinion.

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Goodreads synopsis:

Rose didn’t tell anyone about it. She wondered if it showed. She looked at herself in the mirror and turned this way and then that way. She stood as close to the mirror as she could, leaning over the bathroom basin, looking into her own eyes until they disappeared behind the fog of her breath. Looking for something. Some evidence that she was different now. Something had shifted inside her, a gear being ratcheted over a clunky cog, gaining torque, starting her up. But it didn’t show. How could all of these feelings not show? She was a woman now but it didn’t show and she couldn’t tell anyone.

A devastating, compelling novel that will get everyone talking, from the author of Creepy and Maud.

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Review:

My head hurts so badly right now. It’s expected since it was ONLY TWISTED TO EPIC PROPORTIONS.

There just aren’t words for what this book made me go through. Thank goodness for that, actually.

A Small Madness tells the story of a girl named Rose. I will warn you, that if you are really uncomfortable with the topic of teen pregnancy or particularly, sex, in books then I’m telling you now that you will not be comfortable with this book. This is a raw, gritty portrayal of teen pregnancy and the author doesn’t gloss over anything.

But that’s one of the reasons why this book really touched me.

We see how the way that the main character, Rose, is forced to deal with her pregnancy and how it transforms her. The things she does. I can’t even. It’s so heartbreaking and really does bring up themes that really aren’t dealt with enough in YA.

There are many reasons which drew me to this book. The initial being the both the topic and the writing style. I’ve never read anything before on teen pregnancy and I was pretty curious. Also, from the synopsis I could tell I would like the writing style (I love books written with that kind of detached but yet very intimate and descriptive style). I also love reading books by Aussie authors and the cover is stunning. And totally suits the tone and mood of the book. And this is weird, but it actually feels really nice.

So when I completely (unexpectedly) got this in the mail for review I completely freaked. And I may have ditched the book I was reading in favour of A Small Madness. I know. Terrible. I had just really, really looking forward to reading this ever since I first heard about this, ok? So I sat down and read, starting it late on a school night (with not much time left after homework before I actually had to go to bed) and finishing it within half an hour the next morning. I was just so, so into the story and needed to know what was going to happen.

I also read with my mouth gaping open for a short while. True story.

I just had this feeling of complete and total dread as to what was going to happen (which was thanks to the author’s brilliant writing) and knew that I wasn’t going to be completely with it until I knew what was going to happen to the characters.

Although I was not a fan of the ending. It was a little too open for my liking. I just think that while open endings can work, in realistic fiction it is particularly important to wrap-up the story and preferably provide closure.

If all Dianne Touchell’s books are like this, then I really need to look into reading them.

4/5 comets
Meteor shower. A great show.

Add A Small Madness to Goodreads

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Goodreads author bio:

Dianne TouchellDianne Touchell is a middle child who feared Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy — and any other stranger who threatened to break into the house at night.

She has worked, amongst other things, as a nightclub singer, a fish and chip shop counter girl (not with Pauline Hanson) and a bookseller. Dianne would rather talk to her dog than answer the phone.

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February 2015 Wrap-up!

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The rules:

•Post a sticker – whether it be mine or your own (provided it has Counting the Stars on it).
•Either a) leave a link to your post in the comments below or b) tell me your answers in the comments – either is fine!
•Try to post titles under at least a few of the categories below.

Sigh. This was my first month back at school and it has been HECTIC. It’s definitely, definitely a step up from last year. I do homework from 4-10pm everyday (without actually having proper study time) and if my eyes aren’t too try and tired by 10pm then I read for a bit. Ok, I’m done complaining.

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Bought:

…Nothing. But I’ve got something ready to buy…

Gifted:

Nada.

Won:

Zilch.

Library:

  • The Duff by Kody KeplingerThe DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
  • Frostfire by Amanda HockingFrostfire (Kanin Chronicles, #1)

For review:

I was so excited when they came. Thank you so much Allen & Unwin!!

  • A Small Madness by Dianne TouchellA Small Madness
  • Soulprint by Megan MirandaSoulprint

Read: 

  • Starlet’s Web by Carla J. HannaStarlet's Web (The Starlet, #1)
  • A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia GrayA Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)
  • Quintspinner by Dianne GreenlayQuintspinner (Quintspinner series)
  • The ‘Naturals by Robin ParrishThe 'Naturals: Awakening [Episodes 1-4 -- Season 1] (Young Adult Serial)
  • Heartbeat by Elizabeth ScottHeartbeat
  • Heist Society by Ally Carter (reread)Heist Society (Heist Society, #1)
  • The Duff by Kody KeplingerThe DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
  • A Small Madness by Dianne TouchellA Small Madness

TBR:

  • Switched by Amanda Hocking (reread)Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1)
  • Torn by Amanda Hocking (reread)Torn (Trylle, #2)
  • Ascend by Amanda Hocking (reread)Ascend (Trylle Trilogy, #3)
  • Frostfire by Amanda HockingFrostfire (Kanin Chronicles, #1)
  • Soulprint by Megan MirandaSoulprint

Currently reading:

  • Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl

Review: All The Bright Places

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

Publication date: January 6th 2015

Publisher: Knopf

Number of pages: 400

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Purchased. This is my honest opinion.

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Goodreads synopsis:

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

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Review:

UM.

UMM.

UMMM.

UMMMM.

It’s been days now and I still have no idea what to write. I’m sorry, ok?

But this is the point where I give you some sort of garble as to what I think I think of it. Reader beware. This is your one and only warning.

The truth is that I am disappointed in this book. I expected quite a bit more than what I got because THE HYPE. It’s ridiculous. So I did something I never do and bought the book the day it was released. And read it not long after I got it.

However, unfortunately I had some problems with it.

Perhaps the biggest one was that I felt the pacing of the book was way, way too slow. I can’t deal with slow pacing in books. I get disconnected and bored. As I did with All the Bright Places. I think a lot of stuff to do with the homework project Violet and Finch did maybe could have been cut.

The other thing was that while I loved Finch right away, I didn’t really connect with Violet from the start. Although, as her relationship with Finch blossomed, I found myself becoming more accustomed to her. I liked the way she kind of grew as a person and the way this was done gradually. Which of course the slow pacing allowed to happen. Ok, so it’s good for something.

While I wasn’t as emotionally invested as others, as I was a little detached from the story, there were a couple of those moments where you can just feel your stomach drop. Out of your feet. While I didn’t cry at all during the book I still had this very sick feeling that something was going to happen. Which I won’t share of course.

All in all, I felt like the issues dealt with in the book were handled with expertise. The characters were so realistic and the author has done a fantastic job with her book.

I really would recommend this book. I think all teens should read it – while in countries like Australia the cheerleader/jock/band geek kind of stereotyping isn’t as prevalent as it is in America, stereotyping still exists and really can wreck a person’s life.

Even days and days later the story has stuck with me and I expect it to stick with me for a long time yet.

And of course I’m looking forward to the movie.

4/5 comets
Meteor shower. A great show.

Add All The Bright Places to Goodreads

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Goodreads author bio:

Jennifer NivenBy the time I was ten, I had already written numerous songs, a poem for Parker Stevenson (“If there were a Miss America for men, You would surely win”), two autobiographies (All About Me and My Life in Indiana: I Will Never Be Happy Again), a Christmas story, several picture books (which I illustrated myself) featuring the Doodle Bugs from Outer Space, a play about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s sister entitled Blindness Strikes Mary, a series of prison mysteries, a collection of short stories featuring me as the main character (an internationally famous rock star detective), and a partially finished novel about Vietnam. I was also an excellent speller from a very early age.

In 2000, I started writing full-time, and I haven’t stopped… I’ve written eight books (two of those are forthcoming), and when I’m not working on the ninth, I’m contributing to my web magazine, Germ (www.germmagazine.com), thinking up new books, and dabbling in TV. I am always writing.

Counting the Stars 80#

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The rules:

•Post a sticker – whether it be mine or your own (provided it has Counting the Stars on it).
•Either a) leave a link to your post in the comments below or b) tell me your answers in the comments – either is fine!
•Try to post titles under at least a few of the categories below.

I’m really sorry that some of these books will be repeated from my last wrap-up! But I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to start doing these monthly, from now.

Bought:

Well, I had the entire month of January off from school! And with some money I received for Christmas, I went and bought a couple of books.

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  • Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Downloaded free as part of the ‘first in a series free’ deal on iBooks:

They were also all free on Kindle (thankfully that usually happens because I don’t read on my phone)!

  • Jump by Sean WilliamsJump (Twinmaker, #1)
  • The Intern by Gabrielle TozerThe Intern (The Intern, #1)
  • Every Breath by Ellie MarneyEvery Breath (Every #1)
  • Strange Angels by Lili St. CrowStrange Angels (Strange Angels, #1)
  • Zom-B by Darren ShanZom-B (Zom-B, #1)
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass (I already own physically and have read but…)The Selection (The Selection, #1)
  • Evermore by Alyson NoelEvermore (The Immortals, #1)
  • Mercy by Rebecca LimMercy (Mercy, #1)

Gifted:

  • Heir of Fire by Sarah J. MaasHeir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)

This was a Kindle daily deal and my mum offered to buy it for me. Thanks again Mum if you’re reading this 🙂

Won:

  • Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl

EEEEEP. Thanks again, Nara!!

Library:

  • The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la CruzThe Ring and the Crown (The Ring and the Crown, #1)
  • A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia GrayA Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)

For review: 

  • Buzz Books 2015: Young Adult Spring
  • The ‘Naturals by Aaron Patterson, Melody Carlson, Robin Parrish and K. C. Neal
  • Manga Classics: Les Miserables Softcover by Victor Hugo (originally), adapted by Crystal Silvermoon and English script by Stacy King

Read: 

  • I Was Here by Gayle FormanI Was Here
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (reread)City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)
  • City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (reread)City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)
  • City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (reread)City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3)
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (reread)Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)
  • City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (reread)City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)
  • Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (reread)Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)
  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
  • City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (reread)City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5)
  • Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (reread)Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)
  • City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra ClareCity of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)
  • The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra ClareThe Bane Chronicles (The Bane Chronicles)
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer NivenAll the Bright Places
  • The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la CruzThe Ring and the Crown (The Ring and the Crown, #1)
  • Buzz Books 2015: Young Adult Spring

To be read:

Unfortunately tomorrow I go back to school. Meaning less reading time.

But for the rest of the year I will be participating in the YA Australian Bloggers & Readers challenges where you read certain books based on certain categories.

If you want to sign up yourself (and trust me, you want to), click HERE

  • A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia GrayA Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)
  • Starlet’s Web by Carla J. HannaStarlet's Web (The Starlet, #1)
  • The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand (if I can find a copy)The Last Time We Say Goodbye
  • The Principles of Love by Emily FranklinThe Principles of Love (The Principles of Love, #1)

What books did you read/get this last month? Feel free to leave me a link to your post or tell me in the comments!

My love affair with Les Mis

My love affair with Les Miserables…

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I like to think of it as a long-term-but-probably-eternal-marriage but apparently you’re not supposed to marry books.

Oh society. How I disapprove of thee.

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Ok, I was joking there, but settle in kiddiewinkles, I will explain to you of how I came to love Les Miserables by Victor Hugo…

—-

A girl browses a theatre website. She scrolls down, only a little, and sees an advertising for the show, Les Miserables, which would be performed soon, around the time of her birthday. She’d always been desperate to see it and the wise girl saw the perfect opportunity to. She flutters her impeccably long lashes at her mother, who was doomed to give in, and she agrees to take the girl to the show for her birthday present.

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The girl goes to the show and falls completely, totally and utterly in love with it. Before anyone can say ‘uh oh she’s going to go insane, is there an asylum near here?’ the girl has already sourced a copy of the album and has listened to it over and over again, knowing most of the lyrics by the end of the next day.

By the end of the next week she has also selected favourite performers from numerous shows passed. So much so that when the most recent movie adaption was released in 2012, she noticed a cameo from one of the most well-known performers. She was rather fond of the movie and of course owns the DVD.

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Then the next year, the girl sees the book going for fairly cheap in her local ‘everything’ kind of store. Obviously it’s destiny, so the girl buys it. Then it sits for a bit on her shelf, scaring the girl a little with it’s 1232 pages, until the month of January 2014, when the girl does the math. If she was to read 100 pages per month this year, come December, she can have finished it.

And that’s just what she did! Surprising herself she stuck to reading the book every month, no more or less than a hundred pages, and finished it. She loved it to bits, deeming it as possibly the best book she’s ever read. She writes up some of her favourite quotes and sticks them on her wall. She really does love it.

By the time the theatre production rolls around again in 2015, she’s already begged to go and see it as part of her Christmas present. And her poor mother obliges to seeing it yet again (she had already seen it before said girl was born, to). Then it occurs to the girl when she’s watching it that not only does she know all the songs, but 3 hours worth of dialogue as well. She was internally correcting the actors sometimes.

—-

And that was that!

If you haven’t read Les Mis, I strongly recommend that you do. I have numerous bookmarks placed, but even then it’s only of my favourite, favourite pages. Otherwise every page would be bookmarked. If you opened to a random page you could probably find something amazingly well-written on it.

It really is a brilliant book. I’ll have to post a review maybe.

Thanks for sticking with this post if you did! Many congratulations and much internet-transferred imaginary cake if you did. I would be very impressed. I know that this is something a bit different to usual, hopefully it’s not too terrible.

But seriously you have to read it.

A Very Frightening Bookish Thought

Close your eyes…take a deep breath in….and breathe out. Take another deep breath in, hold, and breathe out. Now, imagine this terrifying scenario:

It is 3:00am in the morning, the most evilest of times. Usually you in the land of the cannot-possibly-be-woken but tonight, your eyes are cracked open.

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Why? Because you are reading one of the best books of your life.

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Your body lies exhausted after that time you spent hyperventilating when your favourite character NEARLY DIED (don’t even try to deny it), and let’s face it, you are in no emotional condition to keep reading, but you do. You turn the final page and CLIFFHANGER.

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You know how you thought you were emotionally scarred before? Now  you’re emotionally scarred. You flip a couple more pages until you come to the sneak peek of the next book. The cliffhanger is eating you up (I’ve heard they get hungry) and the emotional torment becomes just too much for you. You reach to turn the page…

Or do you?

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And that brings us to what the post is really about:

Do you read the sneak peeks at the end of books?

I personally…don’t. Especially if the book before had had at least some minor sort of cliffhanger. What would be the point in reading ahead? Either you’d torture yourself even more, or you might even end up feeling deflated. Plus that would 100% defeat the point of having the cliffhanger in the first place.

The other thing is that I feel like if I read the sneak peek and then went about the sequel (whether it had already been released, or was about to be), I don’t think I’d really want to reread what I already had. Sure you could jump to where the sample had cut off, but this is me so the clever route isn’t taken. Plus you may have forgotten a minor detail that occurred in the preview.

It wouldn’t be a problem if the book wasn’t going to be released for ages. Because if other readers are anything like me then they would have completely forgotten what they had read in the sample anyway.

But of course sneak peeks could be a really good thing – they can get you really excited for the next book. They also can leave you with more questions to do with what’s going to happen, or IT could even end on a cliffhanger. So many possibilities.

Do you read the sneak peeks for books coming out? Or like me do you fend them of with a red-hot pitchfork? 

2015 New Releases Reading Challenge

2015 READING CHALLENGE

I’m super excited to be announcing that I will be hosting the 2015 New Release Reading Challenge!

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I first discovered the necessity for this reading challenge back when I began choosing my most anticipated reads of this year. I realised that I was really struggling to narrow it down (especially compared with last year) and that if I didn’t put some of the titles on my list, I would probably forget about them and never read them again. Those poor books would have to miss out on being read by my wonderful eyes.

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But joking aside, that made me feel kind of sad, so I decided that 2015 is going to be the year of new releases! So I devised a spreadsheet of books and release dates (books I was interested in only) and decided that I was going to make it into a challenge thing on the blog so that I would feel more obliged to do it. Then I thought (like an actual thought, I wondered what they felt like – kind of sticky actually) that maybe other people may want to join in as well!

The rules:

  • Please post the sticker above (or (a better) one you’ve made) and link back to me. That way other people can join in!
  • There will be a monthly link-up to show your progress if there are more than five participants other than myself.
  • All books counted must be read and published in 2015.
  • No novellas unless they are over 100 pages.
  • You must have fun. Like, or else.

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Scoring:

  • <5 books – at least you tried.
  • 5-10 books – not bad at all. You may stand proudly.
  • 11-15 books – you can be known as the ‘experienced’ one.
  • 16-20 – let me bow down and kiss your feet.
  • >20 – just face it, you’re inhuman.

Currently, I’m aiming for at least 20 new releases. Will I lower my goal? Perhaps. But optimism is key, people. If there was no optimism, how would function? We would drown in a pool of no hope. I’ve heard it is uncomfortable.

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Progress:

Considering it is the 8th of January today, I haven’t done too badly. I have read a total of:*drumroll* one book! And that was…I Was Here by Gayle Forman (see previous post). It was pretty good, perhaps not quite meeting my ridiculously high expectations, but pretty good.

I Was Here

Some more January releases I’m excited for:

  • Vendetta by Catherine Doyle (Jan 1st)Vendetta (Blood for Blood, #1)
  • Frostfire by Amanda Hocking (Jan 6th)Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles, #1)
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (Jan 6th)All the Bright Places
  • The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall (Jan 13th)The Conspiracy of Us
  • Love, Lucy by April Lindner (Jan 27th)Love, Lucy

WAIT. On the topic of All the Bright Places, I have to say how ridiculously excited I am for it. I ordered my copy the day it came out (although I meant to before – it must have been published earlier than the 6th elsewhere because I could have bought it without pre-ordering). I completely blame my fellow bloggers on that account.

Anyway, I hope you decide to join me in my battle to read all the books. Well, most of them.

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If you would like to join, just drop me a comment to sign-up!

Byeeeeee!