Happy Holidays

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Seasons Greetings! What ever holiday you are celebrating this December, we wish you a safe and joyful holiday season.

'Tis the time for giving. Did you gift any books to your loved ones, or were you lucky enough to receive any books that were on your wish list?

Warmest Wishes,

Preview: Harken by Kaleb Nation

Kaleb Nation is a youtube and online personality, blogger, and author. He started writing when he was twelve years old, and at age fourteen had his first major idea for a novel. In 2009 he published his first book called Brian Hambric: The Farfield Curse; which was shortly followed in 2010 by Bran Hambric: The Specter Key. These two books form part of the Brian Hambrick series, aimed at readers of a Middle School age group.

Coming in January 2013, Kaleb is releasing a new book called Harken. It will be his first novel for the YA genre, and is a supernatural conspiracy theory novel.

“After surviving an assassination attempt, teenager Michael Asher discovers that he is at the center of a worldwide conspiracy reaching higher than any earthly power. A supernatural organization desperately wants him dead. He doesn't know why. Everyone who might have the answers has already been killed.

Tumbling into a web of international secrets, Michael is forced to fight back and dig up the truth. He begins to question how much of the world is truly as people are led to believe it is. Are there things that humanity is not being told? Who is the puppet master? And how far into the maze can he venture before he is lost forever?” - Goodreads

Book Trailer: [click here]

You can get a free preview of the first 3 chapters of Harken, by clicking the banner below:

As a special promotion, readers who tweet their favourite quotes from the preview can win a giant HARKEN prize pack! Follow Kaleb on twitter at @KalebNation, and follow @harkenseries for more Harken related news. Don't forget to use #HARKEN when you enter, and tell them @thenovelnook sent you ;).

What do you think of the Harken preview? Leave a comment below.

Happy reading,

A Very Bookish Christmas

Season’s Greetings! I work in retail, and with one week left until Christmas, I’ve been spending a copious amount of time amongst people buying those elusive last few presents for their loved ones. Having read several good books this year, I thought I’d share a few of my favourites, and possibly recommend some for your bibliophile friends and relatives. Most of these suggestions fall into the ‘Young Adult Fiction’ genre, but are suitable for young and old adults alike :).

For Younger Readers:
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Some of you may recognise the name Chris Colfer. He is one of the main cast on the hit TV series Glee. Since he was a boy, he has loved writing stories, and this book was inspired by a story he started writing while in Middle School. He brings many well-known book characters together in this enchanting story. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, twins Alex and Conner leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.

For the Fantasy Teen:
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
I love Maria V. Snyder, and Touch of Power is the first book in her latest Healer series. The book has just been re-released this month, and book two of the series comes out in January. It follows the adventures of Avry of Kazan, a healer in the Fifteen Realms. A plague decimated the Territories and healers were accused of spreading the disease. A bounty was put out on all healers, and Avry is the last one left. War has broken out, as competing leaders fight for control of all the Fifteen Realms, and Avry is stuck in the middle. Her choice: will she give her life to heal a prince, who may have started the rumour about the healers and the plague but who may also be able to reunite the realms, or try to continue avoiding bounty hunters for the rest of her life.

The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore
The third book in the Lorien Legacies series, The Rise of Nine is a fantasy/sci-fi book that leaves you hanging for more. To everyone else, they look like ordinary teenagers; but they’re not. They started as a group of nine aliens who left their home planet when it fell under attack. The original plan was for them to travel to Earth, develop their powers, and return to reclaim Lorien. But the Mogodorians found them on Earth, and want to finish what they started. These young teenagers are the only ones who can save Lorien, and now Earth. As those of the original nine that are left continue to find each other, the battle against the Mogodrians also continues.

For the Contemporary Teen:
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
John Green’s books never fail to impress, evoke emotions and inspire those who read them. This book has received some fantastic reviews, and 11 months after its release, is back in the number #1 spot on the Penguin Teen Australia chart. The Fault in our Stars follows Hazel, a 17 year old, terminally ill Cancer patient, as she falls in love and starts to actually feel alive and live her life; regardless of how long she has been sick, and how long she has left. Speaking from experience, this is a tear-jerker of a read. So you may want to include a box of tissues along with this book.

Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Everyone is a perpetrator, victim, or witness to bulling. Speechless makes you realise that all of your actions have consequences, and that sometimes actions do speak louder than words. After attending a party where she witnesses two male classmates in a bedroom together, Chelsea outs them to her friends. By the end of the night, one of the boys is in a critical condition in hospital, two other boys are left facing assault charges, and it’s all thanks to Chelsea. Deciding it is better to not say anything at all, then it is to risk getting anyone else into trouble, Chelsea takes a vow of silence. This only leads her to become further ignored, ridiculed and even attacked by her old friends and other classmates. But there is still hope, as Chelsea makes new friends and learns the real power of silence!

For Every Woman:
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
"The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey what words could not. For Victoria Jones, alone after a childhood in foster care, it is her way of expressing a legacy of grief and guilt. Believing she is damaged beyond hope, she trusts nobody, connecting with the world only through message-laden bouquets. But when a mysterious man at the flower market responds in kind, Victoria is caught between fascination and fear, and must decide if she can open herself to the possibilities of happiness...and forgiveness.
The Language of Flowers is a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about the meaning of flowers, the meaning of family, and the meaning of love." (The Language of Flowers, 2011)

Whatever you decide to buy for your loved ones this December, I hope that you will consider giving the gift of reading.

Happy Holidays,

Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

*A quick thank you to HarlequinTeen for my first official ARC.

Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Released: AU 28th August 2012
Series: Confessions [Book One]
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Pages: 272
Source: Review
Buy it: Amazon | Book Depository | Bookworld

Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some confessions to make:

…1. I'm livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I'm allowed to be irate, don't you?

2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating a cheerleader. She is now enraged and out for blood. Mine.

3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and "seeing red" means being angry—get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don't know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)

(Sorry. That was rude.) - GoodReads

Book Trailer: [click here]

Confessions of an Angry Girl takes you on a bit of a journey. The journey of Rose Zarelli, as she struggles with loosing her dad, starting high school, peer pressure, and having feelings for boys. After her father died while working in Afghanistan, her mother stopped talking to her and her brother moved away to college. As she struggles to deal with this feeling of desertion, her best friend Tracy won't stop talking about joining the cheerleading squad, and wanting to hook-up with her boyfriend. Rose just isn't interested, and becomes increasingly frustrated with the people around her. She tries to do the right thing, but gets shut down at every turn. Why does high school have to be so difficult?

One night while at a party, in which alcohol is present and under age drinking is rampant, Rose discovers one of her classmates unconscious in the bathroom. Concerned for her, Rose calls 911 and as a result, the party is shut down by paramedics and police. Her classmates want to seek revenge. She tries to save Tracy from drowning in alcohol, as the cheerleading squad pours it down her throat as part of her initiation. Tracey can't believe how embarrassing Rose is being, and just wishes she'd relax. But Rose can't relax, because she's falling for the bad boy in school, Jaime Forta; and even though he has girlfriend, Rose has kissed him. Twice! All her pent-up anger comes to a head, when head cheerleader (aka. Jaime Forta's girlfriend) Regina confronts Rose about being a loser, and insults Rose's dead father.

Even though I consider myself nothing like Rose, she still felt strangely familiar, and I found myself relating to her. As the title suggests, Rose is an angry girl. She faces a lot of challenges that most teenagers face during high school, doing what is right or trying to be popular. In her debut novel, Louise Rozett's writing brings these scenarios to life and made me feel like I was in high school again, right beside Rose. I felt like the book ended in a peculiar place. Although this could be a segue into the next book in Rozett's Confessions series. The book description had me expecting a little more in the way of language, describing Rose as a "word geek". But I did enjoy the word, definition, and synonym (often referring to Rose herself) at the beginning of each chapter. I was also expecting Rose to be an outwardly "angry girl", but found the majority of her anger built up inside, with little release.

I've been reading a few contemporary books lately, and Confessions of an Angry Girl was definitely on par with them. It's another book that I would recommend to teens going through high school, as a learning experience and as an enjoyable read. Or to anyone who enjoys YA fiction.

Happy reading,

Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder

This review may contain spoilers if you have not read Storm Glass and Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder. (I suggest you do, they are amazing! Then come back to this review).

Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Released: AU September 2010
Series: Glass [Book Three]
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Pages: 424
Source: Gift
Buy it: Book Depository | Amazon

Opal Cowan had been willing to make the ultimate sacrifi ce to save her friends and rid the world of blood magic. Though she survives, she is forever changed…

Opal has lost her powers. More than that, she is now immune to magic. Opal is an outsider looking in, spying through the glass on those with the powers she once had, powers that make a difference to the world and were her whole world…

Until spying through the glass becomes her new power. Suddenly, the beautiful pieces she makes fl ash in the presence of magic. And then she discovers that someone has stolen some of her blood and that fi nding it might let her regain her powers. Or learn if she’s lost them forever… - GoodReads

When we last left Opal Cowan, she had sacrificed her own magic in an attempt to save her friends. Unfortunately for her, but lucky for her friends, she was successful. In a twist however, Opal not only lost her powers, but is now immune to magic. Going from ‘powerful glass magician’ to losing her powers is tough for Opal, and at the start of Spy Glass we find her in her home town of Booruby, moping (although she won’t admit it). But she can’t stop thinking about her magic and about Ulrick, Tricky, and Devlin. She feels that she doesn’t have a purpose, and that if she was somehow able to restore her magic, that it would bring meaning back to her life. So, she travels all around Ixia in search of answers. In the process, she is attacked, attempts to break into a high security prison, gets caught in a mine explosion, and finds herself battling with blood magic. Poor Opal!

We meet some old friends in this final instalment of the Glass Series, and are also introduced to some new ones. Her relationship with her family, friends, and Kade are stretched to the limit. She finds herself drifting apart from people she once held close, and is attracted to people (or more specifically a someone) that she was once repulsed by. Her new immunity to magic turns out to be rather helpful, when she helps rescues a new magician on the verge of flaming out. With or without her magic, this new magician and his sister help Opal discover herself, and help her to discover another purpose.

Overall, Maria V. Snyder does another amazing job at keeping you connected with the characters, and on the edge of your seat (or bed, or cushion, or wherever you happen to be while reading). Each cliff-hanger/surprise/mysterious chapter ending had me wanting more, and I finished the last half of the book in 2 evenings (I generally read before bed, so I had a couple of sleepless nights because of this book). Although I don’t ‘like’ the final decision Opal makes, it is explained well enough that I accept it and am happy for her. Opal’s seeking her ‘sense of purpose’ while searching for her magic is relatable, and although set in a fictional setting, gives the book a feeling of reality.

I really enjoyed Spy Glass, and the entire Glass Series. I truly hope that Maria continues writing about Ixia; even if Opal’s journey has ended!

Happy reading,

Back from Extended Hiatus

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“Hello, my name is Alisa, and it has been 10 months since my last blog post.”

You may have noticed, but The Novel Nook and I have been M.I.A for almost a year. Although I wasn’t posting, I have still been doing a lot of reading and rating on Goodreads. I love Goodreads. It has kept me connected with books and other readers, and I feel a sense accomplishment being ahead of my reading challenge schedule, even if I haven’t been as proactive with my blogging.

I feel like I owe you all an apology and an explanation on why I’ve been gone so long. The reasons are fairly simple and non-personal, so I’ll just get to it.

When I first started The Novel Nook, I was in my final year at university. Looking back, probably not the best time to commit myself to a blog, but as with most things, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, I found myself letting my uni work slide, in favour of working on my blog. Then as the year continued, I started my internship at a school, and planning, teaching, and marking became my main priority. Soon graduation followed, as well as the task of applying for an education panel interview and job hunting. These things took up a large part of my time for several months.

Next, things weren't going as smoothly with my family as they had in the past. Sibling ‘disagreements’, work troubles, and ill family members; It all added up and took its toll on me too.

Now, seven months after I’ve graduated, things are looking better all-around for my family, and I think I’m ready to start blogging again. Last time when I began blogging, I feel like I took on too much at once. So this time, I’m giving myself a simple schedule which I feel I can manage along with my other commitments. You, the book bloggers community, are so friendly and accepting, and I hope you’ll join me again in sharing something we all love!

Thank you,