**Spring Reading Challenge – 2014**

goodreads ****Spring Reading Challenge – 2014** (01-Sep-2014 – 30-Nov-2014)
The Aussie Readers group on Goodreads has the **Spring Reading Challenge – 2014** ;

❝ Finally, with Spring almost upon us, we can feel a little warmth creeping into the air!! Time to pull out those spring-related books for our next seasonal challenge!
With a total of fifteen books for this challenge, you had better SPRING into SPRING for a colourful season of reading! ❞

1. Spring clean time! Choose a book from your TBR which you’ve been wanting to read for a LONG time:)
Cassandra Clare – City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder – much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing – not even a smear of blood – to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….

(Media: Audio Book, eBook)
VERDICT: ★★
Not all that impressed with this one, was expecting more given it has positive reviews. Felt more like fan fic than a novel.

2. Brisbane Writers’ Festival – 3rd-7th September – http://bwf.org.au/ – Read a book written by an Aussie author which will be released in the months of Spring 2014

ClassAct Maxine McKew – Class Act : Ending The Education Wars
It’s time for a ceasefire in the education wars
Through a series of conversations and case studies Maxine McKew documents the transformation that’s now underway in classrooms around Australia and examines the strategies that are helping to lift academic performance, particularly in some of Australia’s most challenged schools.
Class Act invites reflection on one of our most pressing national dilemmas—how we replicate success across a fragmented educational system and reverse the decline in student performance.
With its frank accounts of the joys and pitfalls of learning in the twenty-first century, Class Act will appeal to parents, teachers and policy-makers alike.

PUBLISHED:22/Aug/2014 / Launched:08/Sep/2014
(Media: DeadTree)
VERDICT:

3. Read a Rainbow – the gorgeous colours of Spring! Choose a book which shows a predominant colour of:
3a. Red
Earthly Kerry Greenwood – Earthly Delights
Corinna Chapman dumped accounting and nasty husband for her own bakery “Earthly Delights” in Melbourne Australia. Her new residence has 16 apartments of eccentrics: retired classics professor Dionysius Monk, Dutch gardener Trudi, Mr & Mrs Pemberthy and disgusting doggie Traddles, thin would-be soap stars Goss and Kylie, and jobbing witch Meroe of The Sibyls Cave. Suddenly a junkie collapses on her grate, a gorgeous sabra stalks along her alley complimenting her beauty, and letters threaten her for adultery. Welcome Goths, lost girls, fraud, late nights, nerds, and beautiful slaves. Includes recipes.
(Media: audiobook)
VERDICT: ★★★.★
{Kerry Greenwood : Recipes from Corina Chapman, baker and reluctant investigator [PDF]}

3b. Orange
Hidden Benedict Jacka – Hidden (Alex Verus #5)
With his talent for divining the future, Alex Verus should have foreseen his friends’ reactions to the revelations about his previous life. Anne Walker no longer trusts him—and has also cut all ties with the mage community after getting kicked out of the apprentice program. As a favor to Luna, Alex’s own apprentice and Anne’s best friend, he checks in on her only to be told to leave her alone.
Then Anne gets kidnapped. The Council Keepers of the Order of the Star believe Dark mages from her past may be involved. Working with the Keepers, Alex and Luna discover that Anne has been taken into the shadow realm of Sagash, her former Dark mage mentor, and they must find a way to rescue her.
But another shadow from the past has resurfaced—Alex’s former master may be back in London, and Alex has no idea what his agenda is…

(Media: audiobook)
VERDICT: ★★★★

3c. Yellow
Alif the Unseen is the Sword & Laser read for October 2014.

Alif G. Willow Wilson – Alif the Unseen
In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients—dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups—from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif—the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the State’s electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover’s new fiancé is the head of State security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground. When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen. With shades of Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, and The Thousand and One Nights, Alif the Unseen is a tour de force debut—a sophisticated melting pot of ideas, philosophy, religion, technology and spirituality smuggled inside an irresistible page-turner.
(Media: audiobook)
VERDICT:

3d. Green
WiseMansFear Patrick Rothfuss – The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2)
“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”
My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trehon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me. …

(Media: audiobook)
VERDICT: ★★★★

3e. Blue
the-dirty-streets-of-heaven Tad Williams – The Dirty Streets of Heaven (Bobby Dollar, #1)
Bobby Dollar is an angel—a real one. He knows a lot about sin, and not just in his professional capacity as an advocate for souls caught between Heaven and Hell. Bobby’s wrestling with a few deadly sins of his own—pride, anger, even lust.
But his problems aren’t all his fault. Bobby can’t entirely trust his heavenly superiors, and he’s not too sure about any of his fellow earthbound angels either, especially the new kid that Heaven has dropped into their midst, a trainee angel who asks too many questions. And he sure as hell doesn’t trust the achingly gorgeous Countess of Cold Hands, a mysterious she-demon who seems to be the only one willing to tell him the truth.
When the souls of the recently departed start disappearing, catching both Heaven and Hell by surprise, things get bad very quickly for Bobby D. End-of-the-world bad. Beast of Revelations bad. Caught between the angry forces of Hell, the dangerous strategies of his own side, and a monstrous undead avenger that wants to rip his head off and suck out his soul, Bobby’s going to need all the friends he can get—in Heaven, on Earth, or anywhere else he can find them.
You’ve never met an angel like Bobby Dollar. And you’ve never read anything like The Dirty Streets of Heaven.
Brace yourself—the afterlife is weirder than you ever believed.

(Media: Dead tree, audiobook)
VERDICT: ★★★★

3f. Purple/Violet
bloodlist P.N. Elrod – Bloodlist (Vampire Files #1)
I’ve always had a weak spot for strange ladies. One very beautiful girl had even warned me that she was, get this, a vampire. But did I listen? No.
Before you know it, I’m being chased by an ugly thug with a gun, and a bullet blasts its way through my back, and, believe it or not, nothing happened. I survived! How? You guessed it. I, Jack Fleming, ace reporter, have been transformed into a vampire, which has its advantages. You never die, you never grow old, you sleep all day, and, best of all, you can hunt down your own murderer.
Bloodlist is the first novel in an exciting vampire adventure series.

(Media: audiobook)
VERDICT: ★★★

4. Choose a Young Adult novel for this one, written by an Aussie author
Ranger10 John Flanagan – The Emperor of Nihon-Ja (Ranger’s Apprentice #10)
The adventure continues in the tenth installment of the bestselling series! When Horace travels to the exotic land of Nihon- Ja, it isn’t long before he finds himself pulled into a battle that is not his – but one he knows in his heart he must wage. A kingdom teeters on the edge of chaos when the Nihon-Ja emperor, a defender of the common man, is forcibly overthrown, and only Horace, Will, and his Araluen companions can restore the emperor to the throne. Victory lies in the hands of an inexperienced group of fighters, and it’s anybody’s guess who will make the journey home to Araluen.
(Media: Dead Tree, Audio)
VERDICT: ★★★.★

5. The Wattle (Acacia) is Australia’s National Flower with it being National Wattle Day on the 1st September. We always know when Spring is around the corner when you start to see the beautiful wattle in flower. Choose a book with “Wattle” in the title or on the cover..

BlackWattleCreek Geoffrey McGeachin – Black Wattle Creek (Charlie Berlin #2)
From the winner of the 2011 Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Novel comes a cracking new Charlie Berlin mystery
It’s September 1957, two days before the VFL grand final, and Detective Sergeant Charlie Berlin, former bomber pilot and ex-POW, finally has some time off. But there’s no rest for Charlie, a decent but damaged man still troubled by his wartime experiences. A recently widowed friend asks a favour and he’s dropped into something a hell of a lot bigger than he bargained for when he discovers a Melbourne funeral parlour has been burying bodies with parts missing. A Hungarian émigré hearse driver points Berlin in the right direction but it quickly becomes obvious anyone asking the wrong questions is in real danger.
With his offsider beaten and left for dead, witnesses warned off, Special Branch on his case, and people he doesn’t know watching his every move, Berlin realises even his young family may be in danger.
His pursuit of the truth leads him to Blackwattle Creek, once an asylum for the criminally insane and now a foreboding home to even darker evils. And if Berlin thought government machinations during World War II were devious, those of the Cold War leave them for dead.
Richly evocative of the period , Blackwattle Creek is a rattling good tale with a dry wit and a sobering core.

(Media: audiobook)
VERDICT: ★★★★
Quite a good series, recommended.

Diggers Rest Hotel 6. Labor Day, the first Monday in October in ACT, NSW and SA, (though earlier in the year in the other states) means you can choose a book where the main character’s profession is a policeman/woman, lawyer, teacher – anything along those lines..
Geoffrey McGeachin – The Diggers Rest Hotel (Charlie Berlin #1)
In 1947, two years after witnessing the death of a young Jewish woman in Poland, Charlie Berlin has rejoined the police force a different man. Sent to investigate a spate of robberies in rural Victoria, he soon discovers that World War II has changed even the most ordinary of places and people.
An ex-bomber pilot and former POW, Berlin is struggling to fit back in: grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder, the ghosts of his dead crew and his futile attempts to numb the pain.
When Berlin travels to Albury–Wodonga to track down the gang behind the robberies, he suspects he’s a problem cop being set up to fail. Taking a room at the Diggers Rest Hotel in Wodonga, he sets about solving a case that no one else can – with the help of feisty, ambitious journalist Rebecca Green and rookie constable Rob Roberts, the only cop in town he can trust.
Then the decapitated body of a young girl turns up in a back alley, and Berlin’s investigations lead him ever further through layers of small-town fears, secrets and despair.
The first Charlie Berlin mystery takes us into a world of secret alliances and loyalties – and a society dealing with the effects of a war that changed men forever.

(Media: audiobook)
VERDICT: ★★★★

7. Remembrance Day, November 11th, where commemorations occur each year on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month at war shrines throughout the country. It is to celebrate the end of WW1 on 11/11/1918… your choice for this category can be fiction or non-fiction but must be about war, our soldiers and their sacrifices.
Hinkler Grantlee Kieza – Bert Hinkler: The Most Daring Man in the World
A small, unprepossessing man from Bundaberg, Bert Hinkler was an aviator who flew solo across countries, continents and oceans – often with nothing more than a lunchbox by his side to sustain him.
Whether as an aerial showman or as a World War I fighter pilot, Hinkler′s exploits thrilled the world and drew massive crowds. Mussolini’s favourite pilot, he enjoyed the fame and adulation of his peers like Charles Kingsford Smith and Amelia Earhart. But behind the headlines was a private, complex man, who juggled relationships with two different women on two continents.

(Media: ?)
VERDICT:

or

Gallipoli Sniper John Hamilton – Gallipoli Sniper: The Life Of Billy Sing
The Anzac battlefield on Gallipoli was made for snipers. Scrub, cliffs, spurs and hills meant that both Anzac and Turkish positions often overlooked one another. The unwary or unlucky were prey to snipers on both sides, and the sudden crack of a gunshot and instant death were an ever-present menace. The most successful and most feared sniper of the Gallipoli campaign was Billy Sing, a Light Horseman from Queensland, who was almost unique among the Australian troops in having a Chinese-born father. A combination of patience, stealth and an amazing eye made him utterly deadly, with the incredible – and horrifying – figure of over 200 credited ‘kills’. John Hamilton has written an extraordinary account of a hidden side of the campaign – the snipers’ war. Following Sing from his recruitment onwards, Hamilton takes us on a journey into the squalor, dust, blood and heroism of Gallipoli, seen from the unique viewpoint of the sniper. Gallipoli Sniper is a powerful and very different account of war and its effect on those who fight.
(Media: Dead tree)
VERDICT:
Autumn Challenge 2016

8. Choose a Goodreads friend, then select a book on their READ list for yourself – something different for you.
From Rochelle’s list;
Divergent Veronica Roth – Divergent (Divergent #1)
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

(Media: Dead tree)
VERDICT: ★★★
This books reads as a mash-up of The Hunger Games (Tris = Katniss) and The Mortal Instruments (Tobias = Jace). The world building falls a bit flat as it is unbelievable and niggles at you, I was not hoping for the dystopia of Paolo Bacigalupi’s Windup Girl but I was hoping for less plot holes.

9. Choose a book from your favourite genre! Make sure you tell us all what that genre is;)
I am currently enjoying gritty Fantasy, and this certainly fits the genre.
RedSeas Scott Lynch – Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard #2)
In his highly acclaimed debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch took us on an adrenaline-fueled adventure with a band of daring thieves led by con artist extraordinaire Locke Lamora. Now Lynch brings back his outrageous hero for a caper so death-defying, nothing short of a miracle will pull it off.
After a brutal battle with the underworld that nearly destroyed him, Locke and his trusted sidekick, Jean, fled the island city of their birth and landed on the exotic shores of Tal Verrar to nurse their wounds. But even at this westernmost edge of civilization, they can’t rest for long—and are soon back to what they do best: stealing from the undeserving rich and pocketing the proceeds for themselves.
This time, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the most exclusive and heavily guarded gambling house in the world. Its nine floors attract the wealthiest clientele—and to rise to the top, one must impress with good credit, amusing behavior… and excruciatingly impeccable play. For there is one cardinal rule, enforced by Requin, the house’s cold-blooded master: it is death to cheat at any game at the Sinspire.
Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way up the nine floors… straight to Requin’s teeming vault. Under the cloak of false identities, they meticulously make their climb—until they are closer to the spoils than ever.
But someone in Tal Verrar has uncovered the duo’s secret. Someone from their past who has every intention of making the impudent criminals pay for their sins. Now it will take every ounce of cunning to save their mercenary souls. And even that may not be enough…

(Media: audiobook)
VERDICT: ★★★★
Starts off for the first third of the story as a 3 star, once they get onto the water it picks up to a four star story.

10. Finally, another from your TBR in that big SPRING clean…can you see it going down yet?
Sara Gruen – Water for Elephants
As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.
(Media: Audio Book, eBook)
VERDICT: ★★★★
Thoroughly enjoyed this one.

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One Response to **Spring Reading Challenge – 2014**

  1. Pingback: ** September Challenge – Sparkling Spring ** | Visible Procrastinations

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