Teaser: The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir who got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe cover“A multitude of tiny ice crystals, probably thrown from the ice cooler at the moment of impact, had lodged in the scars left behind by the chronic acne that had ravaged his face when he was a teenager.  The left half of his face was numb and frozen, as if he’d been smashed in the face with an ice cooler, which was in fact the case, or as if he’d been hit by an iron that had been left too long in a very cold room, which is, I acknowledge, a very odd analogy.”

– The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe by Romain Puértolas


One day a fakir leaves his small village in India and lands in Paris. A professional con artist, the fakir is on a pilgrimage to IKEA, where he intends to obtain an object he covets above all others: a brand new bed of nails. Without adequate Euros in the pockets of his silk trousers, the fakir is all the same confident that his counterfeit 100-Euro note (printed on one side only) and his usual bag of tricks will suffice. But when a swindled cab driver seeks his murderous revenge, the fakir accidentally embarks on a European tour, fatefully beginning in the wardrobe of the iconic Swedish retailer. As his journey progresses in the most unpredictable of ways, the fakir finds unlikely friends in even unlikelier places. To his surprise – and to a Bollywood beat – the stirrings of love well up in the heart of our unlikely hero, even as his adventures lead to profound and moving questions of the perils of emigration and the universal desire to seek a better life in an often dangerous world.

Leave me links to your own teasers in the comments!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingIt’s simple: turn to a random page of a book you’re currently reading and post two(ish) ‘teaser’ sentences.

Down the rabbithole

Musing Monday highlighter

Sometimes a book can grab you right from the beginning. Usually it takes more than a sentence. Sometimes it can take a paragraph. But sometimes you can be completely enthralled before the first full stop. Sometimes the first sentence is so mind-blowingly amazing that you won’t put that book down for hours. The rest of the book might be just as captivating (and isn’t it magical), or maybe it all goes downhill from there (the ultimate form of deceit).

So this post is a shrine to some wonderful first lines that I’ve read recently, either just picking them up off my shelf or as I sit down for an hour-long read.

The lines drag me into a magical world.

lips touch coverThere is a certain kind of girl the goblins crave.
Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor

The first time Reginald Archer saw the thing, it was, in its simplicity, absolute.
– Story by Gahan Wilson, part of Unnatural Creatures edited by Neil Gaiman

They include me in the conversation.

beat the reaperIt’s so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

So I’m on my way to work and I stop to watch a pigeon fight a rat in the snow, and some fuckhead tries to mug me!
Beat The Reaper by Josh Bazell

They surprise me.

my zombie dog coverIt was a slow day, so I was reading a book at my desk and seeing into the future.
Fated by Benedict Jacka

On my 14th birthday I had to bury a dog.
My Zombie Dog by Charmaine Clancy

Or sometimes confuse me.

The first word spoken by the Indian man Ajatashatru Oghash Rathod upon his arrival in France was, oddly enough, a Swedish word.
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe by Romain Puértolas

They might remind me of one I’ve read before.

the bone season coverThere used to be more of us.
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

I like to imagine there were more of us in the beginning.
– The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

They might even be drenched in tragedy.

more than this coverHere is the boy, drowning.
More Than This by Patrick Ness

But they’re the first lines that dragged me down the rabbithole before I even had a chance to kick and scream.

What first lines have captured you lately? Do you have a favourite first line? Leave me link to your own musings!

At the moment I’m at uni and I don’t have a lot of time for comments. I’ll be replying to and visiting everyone but it might take a few days 🙂

Musing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, in which we muse about books and reading.  Anyone can join in!

Review: My Zombie Dog

my zombie dog cover

Title: My Zombie Dog
Series: Sequel: Undead Kev
Author: Charmaine Clancy
Published by: Self-published (Hot Doggy Digital Press) in 2012
Genre: YA, middle-school, horror
Length: 148 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Bookworld

“Can I still have a dog? You know, for my birthday?” Which, did I mention, was today?
“I don’t know Zane, not so soon after Fluffy. We need time to grieve.”
“Mum! We only got the dog today, and it died in our driveway , so technically we never had Fluffy.”

This story was hilarious. As a self-published children’s book, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I absolutely loved every minute of it.

All Zane wanted for his birthday was a dog, but when his Mum brings home a small, fluffy dog he’s disappointed. He wants a man’s dog. When the dog dies on the driveway before even getting in the house, the day is locked in as the worst birthday ever. They bury him, but the next morning, Zane wakes up to find the dog sitting at the end of his bed, covered in dirt and smelling like a dead dog. And now weird things start happening to anyone who’s been bitten…

This is definitely my favourite zombie story. It’s fast-paced and filled with laughs. Charmaine Clancy has skilfully spun a horror tale into a normal boy’s life without making it too scary. It’s certainly got its creepy moments – his dog’s still decaying in his reanimated state, and the zombie people start congregating in his backyard – but anytime it’s about to cross the line into scary territory Clancy throws in a joke to break the tension. Although the book isn’t lacking action, and my heart was definitely racing through the last few chapters.

It’s a simple read aimed at young teens, but it’s easy to get absorbed at any age. The story never feels ‘dumbed down’. The matter-of-fact writing is straight to the point and never dawdles through a scene. It’s a fun, fast and exciting read.

Teaser: Lips Touch Three Times

“A cursed girl with lips still moist from her first kiss might feel suddenly wild, like a little monsoon. She might forget her curse just long enough to get careless and let it come true. She might kill everyone she loves.”
– Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor (Illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo)
Goodreads Amazon Book Depository


Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers’ souls:

Goblin Fruit
In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today’s savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses
A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Six days before Esme’s fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?

Leave me links to your own teasers in the comments!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingIt’s simple: turn to a random page of a book you’re currently reading and post two(ish) ‘teaser’ sentences.

But that’s not the voice inside my head…


As I walked past, I could hear the narrator clearly from my Mum’s headphones. This isn’t new – she’s a bit deaf and I’ve heard many second-hand audio books in my time. But this was the thought that crossed my mind.

The voice inside my head doesn’t read like that. She’s doing it wrong!

I don’t listen to audio books. I tried once when I was about 11, but nothing about it felt right. It was too slow, the voice emphasised the wrong words, the dialogue didn’t sound right and most importantly the voice didn’t match the characters’ personalities.

A lot of books are written in first person and, as a reader of YA fiction, the voice inside my head always tries to read the books as if the narrator was reading them to me. But when you go find the audio book, it will be read by a middle-age person. You can try as hard as you want, but no one can ever match the speech patterns of a different generation. I can call my friend ‘dude’, but as soon as my father tries it, it sounds ridiculous.

In third person stories, it all falls apart with the dialogue. The accents will be wrong, or the characters sound too similar. It’s the same recurring problem: it’s not the voice inside of my head.

There is, however, one audio book I’m willing to give a listen. I’ve been desperate to read The Night Circus for a while, and I saw someone’s review of the audio book narrated by Jim Dale!

Jim Dale is the narrator of Pushing Daisies, a hilarious TV show that I recommend to anyone and everyone. His voice is perfect for a quirky/strange/creepy story which is what I imagine The Night Circus to be. Although even if I enjoy the audio, you can be sure I’ll reread the written version soon after.

Something inside me is programmed to prefer the written word. Even when I listen to Welcome to Night Vale, a podcast which I absolutely love, if I think about it, I’d prefer to read it. My mind wanders and I miss parts. In a book you can go back and re-read, in an audio it’s too hard.

I guess I’m just a child of the written word. Forever distracted unless my eyes have something to see and my mind has something to imagine.

Listen to Jim Dale’s amazing voice in the prologue of Pushing Daisies.
Check out the first two minutes of The Night Circus audio book.

Do you listen to audio books? What do you look for in a good narrator? Have you listened to The Night Circus?


Musing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, in which we muse about books and reading.  Anyone can join in!

Stacking the Shelves: Library Livin’

library book haul 22-6-14

This week I went down to the library to see if they had any decent Australian YA/fantasy. Turns out it’s not so easy to search their database for Australian authors but the librarians were really helpful. They got me into some bookclub databases that mark Australian authors. It wasn’t easy, but I found a few. They also finally had some manga that was #1 in the series.

The haul:
Countdown by Michelle Rowen (Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopia)
Time and Again by JiUn Yun (Manga, Anthology, Supernatural)
Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen (YA, Paranormal, Angels, Fantasy)
Alice in the Country of Hearts #1 by QuinRose (Manga, YA, Fantasy, Humour, Romance)
Alice in the Country of Hearts #2 by QuinRose (Manga, YA, Fantasy, Humour, Romance)
Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steven Amsterdam (Australian, Science Fiction, Dystopia)
City by James Roy – reviewed this week (Australian, YA, Short Stories)
Darkfall by Isobelle Carmody (Australian, High Fantasy, Romance)

Have you read any of these books? What new books have you added to your shelves this week?

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share the new books we’re adding to our shelves each week.

Review: City by James Roy


Title: City
Series: None, companion to Town
Author: James Roy
Published by: University of Queensland Press 2012
Genre: YA, contemporary, short stories
Length: 312 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Bookworld

Everyone has a story

The people in City aren’t special. They’re the young people you walk past everyday – school students, uni students, struggling poets, graffiti artists, drug addicts, country girls and accidental criminals. But that’s the brilliance of this book. In a world where young people are often ignored or even shunned, it’s a reminder that everyone, even a kid staring into space on the bus, has a story.

Each chapter is a snapshot into another person’s life. Whether it’s a boy watching his house burn down, a girl desperately missing her country town home, a boy’s letter to his mother explaining where everything went wrong, or a short poem, each story is entertaining and provides a window into that person’s life.

The city is never named, and sometimes it could be any city in the world, but sometimes the characters are uniquely Australian. It represented the full spectrum of multicultural Australia without covering up the prejudices and racism we pretend aren’t there. However James Roy never sets a judgmental tone. He simply uses his characters, his straightforward writing and realistic dialogue to tell the story as it is.

The stories didn’t follow a traditional structure. There’s no beginning or ending and there’s no back stories. It really is just like being inside a young person’s head for a few days or hours. It can be frustrating for stories to simply end in the middle, but to me that’s the best part of this book.

Our stories don’t end until I lives do, and even then some stories carry on without us.

Teaser: Alice in the Country of Hearts #1

Alice in the Country of Hearts #1This week’s teaser is a visual teaser because I’m reading a manga, Alice in the Country of Hearts. It’s a fantastic re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland. Alice is dragged into Wonderland, a strange world where all of the characters are in love with her. But this isn’t a tale of romance. Alice takes no nonsense. It’s a hilarious story, full of adorable characters. I absolutely love it!

The teaser:
Remember, manga is read right-to-left, top-to-bottom.

Alice in the Country of Hearts #1 teaser

Leave me links to your own teasers in the comments!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingIt’s simple: turn to a random page of a book you’re currently reading and post two(ish) ‘teaser’ sentences.

Coming back from the dead


If you spend any time on the internet, by now you’ve probably heard the breaking Harry Potter news: JK Rowling has written another Harry Potter story.

If you haven’t heard the news yet, don’t get too excited. It’s a short article, written by Rita Skeeter, the much-hated journalist who got a kick out of tarnishing reputations (particuarly Harry’s) by manufacturing stories.

Hey, my eyes aren’t glistening with the ghosts of my past!

I’m a massive Harry Potter fan. They are my favourite books. I call Daughter of Smoke and Bone books my favourites, but that’s because Harry Potter isn’t just a set of books to me. I’ve read them so many times (10+) that they’re a part of me. I grew up with those books, and for several years they were all that I would read. Harry had a piece of Voldermort inside of him, but I have Harry Potter inside of me.

So here’s he kicker: I haven’t read JK’s new story. I’ve seen it, I’ve read about it and I even know what’s in it, but I haven’t read it. Because Harry Potter finished. It finished with tears, anger and a tonne of denial, but it finished. And with it, Harry Potter rolled itself up in a little cocoon and buried itself deep within me. For me it finished with the end of the novels, but for some it finished with the end of the movies.

Much like we’d lost a family member, we waded our way through the five stages of grief and accepted it for the amazing ride it was. Yes, I still revisit the books every 1-2 years, in much the same way as you reminisce with old photographs, draped in a cloak of nostalgia.

So imagine if you got a letter about that family member. Surprise! They hadn’t died. They were living their life somewhere else. How do you find a place for that information? How exactly do I bring Harry Potter back to the surface?

JK Rowling’s new story has brought with it too many questions. The largest, is Harry Potter really finished? This new story, the rumoured TV show, they’re setting Harry Potter up as a franchise I don’t think it should become. Harry Potter, to me, is the holy grail. It can never be beaten. It should be left alone.

So will I read the new story? Probably. I’m weak. Of course I’m going to give in. But I’ll read it like fan fiction. Anything that isn’t, right now, inside my Harry potter cocoon (my head canon, for those in the know) will never penetrate it. Harry Potter doesn’t exist outside of the books. To me, Harry Potter is dead.

What do you think about the new Harry Potter story? Have you ever loved something that turned into a disappointing franchise? Leave me links to your own musings!

Musing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, in which we muse about books and reading.  Anyone can join in!

Illuminated Darkness by Joanne Efendi

Title: Illuminated Darkness
Series: none
Author: Joanne Efendi
Published by: Self-published on 1 December 2013
Genre: YA, romance, fantasy
Rating: 1 star (DNF)
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

I really wanted to like this book. Haitian Voodoo is not something you hear about very often. Ashlyn is almost 18 when her boyfriend suddenly breaks up with her. She wallows in self-pity for a few days, but it doesn’t take her long to move on when she meets Wren, a mysterious guy she has every right to consider a stalker. All goes well, until Wren reveals that he’s a vampire charged with protecting Ashlyn, a Haitian voodoo deity under threat from voodoo priests.

It’s a new take on an old cliché, but it had the potential to be such an exciting story.  Unfortunately it never delivered, at least not in the first third, which was all I could stand to read before declaring it a DNF.  The prologue grabbed me right away. It was dark, mysterious and a great introduction to the story.  If the author had stayed with this style, perhaps the novel would have turned out better. As it was, Efendi steered the novel away from this darkness and attempted to create a young adult romance.  However this is one of those books that made me question whether she remembered anything at all about being a teenager.  The characters’ dialogue was stiff and formal, and Ashlyn herself lacked any semblance of a personality. Her life revolved around boys – either her first boyfriend or the new-found Wren.  It reminded me of Twilight.

“Earlier, I was so angry with him for following me [note recurring stalker behaviour], but now here I was sitting and admiring his beauty [because controlling, stalker behaviour is okay if the boy’s pretty]. How very shallow of me.”

The writing style leaned closer to telling than showing. I knew how the scenes looked or how Ashlyn was feeling, but I never got a sense of the details that really capture the imagination – a soft breeze, Ashlyn’s heart racing, or her stomach dropping. It was very stiff.

“I wanted to go with him. I was drawn to him.”

I got the impression that the author is fairly inexperienced in creative writing, and as her debut novel this is no surprise, but it could have done with some professional editing. I did research and the manuscript went to an editor, but it makes me wonder whether it was a superficial edit that didn’t go into the structure of the story deep enough to delete unnecessary scenes or characters.  Illuminated Darkness read like a promising first draft.  Unfortunately it’s already published and for sale.

I generally don’t dislike books. Even if they’re flawed, I always find value in them.  However, I could not find the  value in Illuminated Darkness. Getting through 33% was generous for me. I was doubting it from the first chapter, but I has such hope that it would get better, that the story would begin. I still believe that it does indeed get better, but at 33%, when something finally happened, it felt like such an unrealistic time and place for the event, I gave up.

I don’t discourage you from picking up a copy – opinions differ and maybe you’ll find something in this novel that I didn’t – but approach with caution.  Low expectations encourage pleasant surprises.