Monday, May 30, 2011

Armchair BEA Winners!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered my Armchair BEA Giveaway to win an ARC of Anna Dressed In Blood or signed copies of Firelight and The Unwritten Rule. Much love goes out to all my new followers who stopped by from the week long event, I had such a great time meeting so many amazing new people!

Anywho, here are the lucky winners!

Anna Dressed in Blood:
Nicci at Paper Dreams

Firelight:
Scoot at See Scoot Read

The Unwritten Rule:
Grace at Books Like Breathing
Alyssa at Redhead Heroines

Congratulations!! I've sent you all an email, so please shoot me a reply within 48 hours with your address so the books can be in your sweaty, book-lovin' paws asap ;)

Edit: Unfortunately the two winnres of The Unwritten Rule never got back to me. So I had to redraw another two and they are...

April X at Book Away 
Lauren C.

Sending you both emails now!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review: The Comet Box

Author: Adrian Stirling
Release Date: June 1st 2011
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Add it: Goodreads

It's 1986 and Halley's Comet is hurtling towards Earth. Everyone is talking about what the comet will bring - wishes could be granted, people might go mad, great disasters could happen...

When Andrew is asked to write down his greatest wish for the Comet Box, he can think of only one thing – that his runaway sister Amelia will finally come home. As the comet draws nearer he begins to learn the reasons why she left in the first place and the more he learns, the more he wants to forget.

When Amelia is captured and brought home she reveals a shocking secret that makes Andrew's once safe world begin to unravel. As the comet arrives, Andrew must choose whether to be blind to the mistakes of the people around him or to side with his sister as she tears his family apart.

I had a hard time writing my review for this book because I could barely find the words to adequately give it justice. I was not expecting such a quietly powerful read. Once I got into the story, I could not put it down. The Comet Box transported me back to my childhood. While this is set in the late 80's and I grew up in the 90's, the atmosphere was still the same in essence. I felt like I was inside this novel and the scorching hot summer days, the neighbourhood BBQ's while parents gossiped about that bad seed who lives across the street. Adrian Stirling's ability to capture the everyday Australian life was fantastic.

Andrew thought he knew everything about everyone in the suburb of Merton. But as we're introduced to these characters and the veil is slowly dropped, Andrew learns he hardly knows anything at all. And sometimes, the truth isn't so glamorous. Six months ago, his sister, Amelia, ran away from home leaving only a name behind on her bedroom wall: Samantha Collins. And that's all Andrew knows of why his sister suddenly left their lives. Now, with Haley's Comet on it's way and a box of secrets inspiring the need for truth, everything Andrew thought he knew about the people around him is about to change forever.

This isn't action packed book, yet it had me on the edge of my seat the whole time as we learn more about each of these characters and uncover, piece by piece, their own hidden story. When Amelia returned, I formed my own theories of why she left. Why she didn't want to come back. Why she made those constant phone calls during her disappearance. Why she was so angry. But I didn't guess right until just before it was revealed and the aftershocks of this revelation were shockingly intense and so very REAL. I can't stress enough how 'real' this book felt, in that Stirling really dug deep and explored the human nature, the depths of these characters. There's a particular scene toward the end that made me shudder. It is so powerful and represents how out of control and twisted ones need for vengeance and justice can get.

The Comet Box showed brilliantly the effect in which holding on to someones mistakes in life and allowing that to fester inside you, unable to forgive them, unable to move forward with your own life, can have on the individual and the people around them. Holding onto those feelings and the blame and the betrayal, making you want to hurt those around you in your own form of justice, it was eye opening to read. And tragic, the way that darkness clouds the mind, the heart and hinders that person from ever really moving on in their life.

This book really made me pause and literally look outside my window at my neighbourhood. Despite how close you might be to those you live next door to or anyone, really, in your life - you never really know what happens in their private life when all the visitors have gone home. There is a secret behind every single door in your neighbourhood. Every single house in your city. And while you may think you want to know everything about those around you, sometimes you're better off not knowing. When people ask whether you'd always want to know the truth or prefer to be kept in the dark - many would say they want the cold, hard facts, no matter the price. I know I would have. But then I read this book and it made me question that need, that continual quest for answers that we seek. Sometimes blissful ignorance really is better than the consequences of the truth.

I can't sing enough praise about Stirling's fantastic ability to both capture the Australian suburban lifestyle and the very heart of his readers as he takes you on an incredibly moving experience that will stay with you long after you finish reading. The Comet Box is a thoroughly engaging novel, sprinkled with a nice touch of humour and such a compelling cast of characters who are so well-defined and feel so recognisable - you could literally walk outside and meet that kind of person on the street - all set in a wonderfully Australian environment. I highly recommend you give this a read!

Rating: 5/5

Friday, May 27, 2011

Armchair BEA Day 5: Blogging about Blogging


Ah, and ArmchairBEA is coming to a close already! It's been a fun week. I've come across some amazing new bloggers who I'm very excited to read more of and hopefully befriend their crazy awesome selves. All those lucky people may have attended BEA in person and snagged dozens of ridiculously lustworthy books and met so many great people face-to-face, but I've had a fantastic time celebrating from the comfort of my 'armchair'. I can't wait to do it again next year! Thanks to everyone for stopping by my blog - I love all my followers, both old and new! Don't forget to enter my Armchair BEA Giveaway which will be running through the weekend for your chance to win an ARC of Anna Dressed In Blood and signed copies of Firelight and The Unwritten Rule.

And now onto today's topic: Blogging about Blogging!

I hardly feel qualified to give my own blogging advice.  I'm still very much in the learning phases, but I'll share a few tips that I've found useful for myself.

  • Don't feel obligated  to post every day or stress about how many reviews you write in a week. Blogging shouldn't be a chore nor should it be something you compare yourself with against others. It's expressing your opinion about what you love and you should do that in whatever way suits YOU best. Who cares if someone has more followers than you? Sure doesn't diminish your appeal. I think you're pretty darn awesome, thank you very much. It's all about quality, not quantity!
  • Negative reviews aren't taboo, but they do require respect. I don't for a second believe anyone should lie about liking a book when they hated it, but it's one thing to respectfully describe what you didn't like and another to completely bash the author and their writing. I appreciate when a blogger is honest and isn't afraid to say "This just wasn't for me." and give valid reasons. But I have seen people be really hateful and vicious toward an author, which is completely uncalled for. They're people with feelings too. There's books I don't like, but I respect the author for having the determination to write the story they want and get it out there. So always be honest, but don't be hateful
  • Participating in meme's and blog hops is a fantastic way to get your blog out there and find new blogs to follow. Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee's View, Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy-For-Books and TGIF hosted by GReads are all excellent weekly meme's where they pose a question to bloggers to answer and then use the linky to hop to everyone elses posts. New followers, new friends!
  • And as I mentioned in yesterdays posts, both Twitter and Goodreads are great for getting your blog out there and connecting with readers, bloggers, authors, publishers, etc. Goodreads allows others a taste of your insanely talented reviewing skills which may prompt them to come over and see your little bookish corner of the web and Twitter just plainly rocks. Instant updates from the coolest minds on the net, connect with people by a simple "@" and heck, I probably end up clicking on nearly as many posts through twitter as I do on my scarily large pile of unread posts in Google Reader.

I hope some of that is useful to someone and the links I provided are really great tools that I can personally vouch for. Just do whatever works for you -  put love and effort and a sprinkling of fairy dust on your posts and you'll have the best blog on the street.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Armchair BEA Day 4: Nurturing Relationships



This post was so hard for me to write. We're supposed to highlight one relationship formed from blogging (whether that be with a blogger, publisher, author, etc). But I have met so many amazing people in the blogging community, that I honestly can't just single one person out.  So I decided on two... then three.. then four and okay, I'm going to mention 6 fantastic bloggers who I'm delighted to have as friends! I also wanted to spread the love for the awesome gals with all you guys. I will try to keep it short!

Honey @ Sniff Books, Not Drugs - We first met through our obsessive spamming on a comment-contest from Liyana Land (who I also love!). And then we got back in contact when she started blogging. I freaking love her. She's all kinds of crazy awesome and honestly one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. And hilarious. She makes me laugh on a daily basis.

Precious @ Fragments of Life -  The girl who made it all happen! She encouraged me to start blogging and I could not be more grateful to her for it. We chat all the time about all the goings on in the blogging community and books we love. She has such a genuine, sweet personality and of course, kickass taste in books! Whatever is churning through the Phillippines drinking water, it's GOOD because the people are so nice!

Kai @ Amaterasu Reads - Speaking of networking, I met Kai through Precious! They're both Phillippines bloggers and because of their combined greatness, I so need to visit there someday! Kai and I are frenemies. She's awesomely cool, but we regularly fight on the battle-field for fictional hotties. She is way too greedy for her own good. *draws sword* All is fair in love and war!

Lisa @ Read Me, Bookmark Me, Love Me - We met years ago on a fan forum for the tv show Supernatural. So we first bonded over a sexy pair of brothers who hunt down monsters and now we bond over our love of YA books! We have very similiar taste in books, not to mention she honestly rocks and is a fellow Aussie!

Erin @ Tales of Inner Book Fanatic - My Vampire Academy homegirl haha. And another fellow Aussie blogger who I first started following on twitter because of her VA pimpage and love of all other things I love!  She's an inspiring writer, so watch out for her bestsellers in the future!

Liz @ Planet Print - Liz and I are both co-hosting (as is Honey, -above- and two other bloggers) a Harry Potter celebration in July, so we got talking through emails and we have so much in common! That girl has ridiculously good taste in books and tv ;) She's such a fun person to talk to!

So yes, I cheated. I couldn't name ONE. I would never be able to choose. I have met so many other amazing people throughout the book community and had the incredible luck to chat with some insanely cool authors and publicists. It never fails to amaze me how FRIENDLY this community is! I love them all to bits and if they ever kick me out of their club, I will have an emotional breakdown.

My tips for 'connecting and building these relationships'? 

Twitter is like the school playground for all the bloggers to go eat lunch and mingle amongst friends after they've finished their schoolwork (ie; blog posts. Except way more fun than actual school work). There is such a huge community of  bloggers, authors, publishers, etc on twitter and it's so much fun interacting with them or else just lurking in the background stalking (totally not creepy, Twitter Stalk is all the craze these days).

Godreads, of course. My bookish haven. It's everything you could want in a book community surrounded by people who share similiar interestes to you. It's a great way to socialise with other readers.

Don't hide or lurk in the background - if you like someone, go follow them on twitter or goodreads, comment on some posts, join in on weekly meme's like Waiting on Wednesday or Book Blogger Hop or participate in a blog hop (just as we're doing through Armchair BEA!). You might make an amazing new friend!

How have you formed relationships with your fellow bloggers? Any awesome people you've met that you want to spread the love for? Throw a link to their blog in the comments!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Armchair BEA Day 3: Meet Heather!

I'm a bit behind on responding to comments today, so if you've commented on my posts and I haven't returned the favour yet - I'm going on a comment-frenzy later tonight! And then I'll be trailing the linkies on the Armchair BEA site to stalk some new bloggers :)

Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing Heather from Geeky Reads!

  In your bio, you mentioned the monthly contest from Grade 6 for those who read the most number of pages and most number of books (I would have loved participating in that!) and that you won nearly every time. What were some of your favourite books growing up?
I read lots and lots of The Babysitter's Club and Nancy Drew. I had quite the collection going of both series. I even had a Babysitter's Club Christmas movie, which I thought was pretty much the coolest thing ever. I remember reading The Hobbit in grade 4, and The Fellowship of the Ring in grade 5, and trying to convince my classmates to read them because I enjoyed them so much. It was an epic failure unfortunately.

What do you love most about blogging?
Getting to share my passion of books with people! I have a few friends who like to read, and I come from a family of readers, but there's only so much book talk that any one of those people can take before their eyes start to glaze over. I remember being so amazed when I first discovered book blogs - that there were people out there who were as obsessed as I was. I was so excited! I knew pretty much instantly that I had to make my own to join in on the fun.

What are your top 5 must-read books?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Harry Potter series by J K Rowling (Okay, okay, I know technically I'm cheating, but you honestly can't read just one of the Harry Potter books, you have to read all of them.)

If you could spend the day living inside any book, which would it be?
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I'd love to be able to experience what it would have been like to be in the midst of King Henry VIII's court. I'd love to wear the dresses, and be around such interesting people. Not to mention that Europe was going through a lot of changes at the time, it would be so interesting to be in the middle of it as it was happening.

Is there a book that's changed your life in some way? Or had the most emotional impact?
I'd have to say Shake Hands With the Devil by Romeo Dallaire. It's non-fiction, by the guy who was in charge of the UN mission in Rwanda during the genocide in 1994. Parts were definitely hard to read and absolutely heartbreaking, but I think it's important to know what happened, and that it could happen again (and is happening today). I can't even imagine what it would have been like to be in the middle of it, and feeling hopeless to be able to help or stop it. It's amazing to think that the world stood by and let it happen. It's the first non-fiction book that I read about Africa, and it got me interested in humanitarianism.

What upcoming books are you most anticipating?
Wolfsbane by Anfrea Cremer
Stolen Nights by Rebecca Maizel
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

What do you like to do outside of reading?
I love to spend time outside - whether it's going for a walk in a park, reading in the backyard under the tree, or hiking in the mountains. I also like to spend time watching TV and movies - probably more than I should. I also love to travel, though it's been awhile since I've been very far from home. My last big trip was to Europe after I graduated university. I had such a great time. I can't wait to go back.

Who is your favourite fictional couple?
Sam and Grace from The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater. Sam and Grace just go so well together. It would be so easy for both of them to give up, say that it's too hard, but they keep on fighting to stay together. I love it. BTW, I need to find a real life Sam. I think we'd be perfect together.

Are you a paranormal girl? Dystopian? Contemporary? What's your favourite genre?
I have pretty eclectic reading tastes. I enjoy everything from mysteries to paranormal, contemporary to classics.

A genie will grant you the wish of one fictional character coming to life - who would choose and why?
The first person who popped into my head was Snape from Harry Potter. I have a thing for brooding, misunderstood guys, and Snape fits that to a T. He got such a bad rap from just about everyone but Dumbledore, and here he was, trying to do the right thing. I'd love to go to a pub and have a couple beers with him.

-----
Ha! I'm completely with Heather on needing to find a real life version of Sam from Shiver. And wow, I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but is anyone else feeling compelled to read Shake Hands With the Devil? I'm definitely going to look that one up. I had so much fun getting to know Heather and I hope you did too. If you'd like to read more about her and the books she blogs about, be sure to stop over at Geeky Reads!

Ash @ Smash Attack Reads is interviewing me today. So if you'd like to delve into the scary recesses of my mind, head on over!

Review: Raising Demons (Hex Hall #2)

Author: Rachel Hawkins
Release Date: Already gracing shelves
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Add it: Goodreads
Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth. 


Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?
 
Otherwise known as Demonglass in the US! 

First off, I have to say that Sophie is honestly one of my favourite book heroines. I love her sarcastic personality. She's so funny and easy to relate to. She's not a weak, shy, "let me strike my damsel in distress pose while I wait for the hot guy to come rescue me' - this girl can hold her own.

I love all the twists and turns and magic. We see Sophie begin to possibly embrace her demon side in this sequel. She was all set to have the Removal done after what transpired at the end of Hex Hall, but then in walks her father and zips her off to London (along with Cal and her vampy best friend, Jenna) where not only does she begin to learn more about her demon side, but develop a relationship with her previously absent father. They grow to have this really nice relationship that was entertaining to read. Her father begins training her and giving Sophie the opportunity to see she can gain some control over her powers and that she just might not be the monster she dreaded she'd become with them.

Oh Rachel, must you split my poor heart in two? We see Cal developed more in this novel. He plays a bigger role than he did in Hex Hall and one that directly plays havoc on Sophie's love life. As if she didn't need more drama to complicate things in that area. I loved Cal and the contrast he brought - he was so sweet and you can see something wonderful simmering behind that quiet demeanour, but then Archer comes back into play. Sigh. As much as I warmed to Cal, Archer just has a way of stealing the scene whenever he's in it. I'm down with the bad boys. I love the good guys but damn, a bad boy with that forbidden, tempting allure yet still manages to give off the 'sweet' vibe? There's no use fighting it. I'm totally stuck in his web of seduction. And while I enjoyed watching the progress between Cal and Sophie, I really hope she does end up with Archer in the end. I think she will. They have such great chemistry - but please don't break Cal's heart too badly!

Oh man, cliffhanger ending! I was warned of this. Practically every review I read moaned and groaned about the ending (in a good way) and here I am sharing my own moan and groan with you all - damn you, cliffhangers! The ending especially had me totally glued to the pages and when that final page came all too soon, I was not a happy camper given the knowledge we have to wait until next year for book 3! It leaves you wanting more, more, more.

Raising Demos is a fast paced novel that will have laughing, gasping and so dangerously entangled in the wonderful web of magic, lies and romance. Once I got started, I could barely put the book down. The writing is so addictive and every chapter leaves you wanting 'oh just one more... maybe two... three won't hurt me, will it?' and before you know it, you're fininished. I'm so excited to see what's going to happen next for our characters and to dive back into Sophie's crazy-awesome mind!

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Armchair BEA Day 2: Best of 2011



While I'm doing the giveaway for Day 2, I couldn't resist using the alternate topic and also posting up my Best of 2011.

My Top 5 Favourites of 2011:

Divergent by Veronica Roth
My Review

OH. MY. HOLY. DYSTOPIAN. One of the best books I have read this year and honestly, in my top 10 favourite books ever! Fast paced, addictive, jaw-dropping, 110% enthralling, you will be HOOKED on this book. Man, the ending in particular had on the edge of my seat with nerves and anticipation just waiting to see what's going to happen next.  The whole atmosphere is new and incredible with a romance that is so real and deep. READ THIS BOOK!


Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
My Review

HEE. [pause] HEEEEE. [pause] HEEHEEE!! That's pretty much the most coherent thought I can come up with when talking about this book. Stephanie Perkins, with her debut novel, has cemented herself as THE best contemporary author on the market. Oh my word, this book is brilliant. The chemistry between Anna and St. Clair is OFF. THE. CHARTS. That is you all you need to know.
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
My Review

The story certainly lived up to the gorgeous cover. Wither was an incredibly crafted novel with such poetic writing. Tender and horrifying and heartbreaking and creates such an emotional impact on the reader. Honestly, where can I buy talent like this? Does it require one of those Sell-Your-Soul-To-The-Devil type deals? I follow that infamous dude on twitter and even though I think he's pretty shady, I'd totally do it. That's how amazing Lauren is.


Forgotten by Cat Patrick
My Review

This comes out next month and is a MUST READ! Beautifully written and such a compelling, original concept. She remembers her future, but forgets her past. And Cat Patrick pulls off this highly unique storyline brilliantly. Plus, I'm kind of in love with Luke Henry aka love interest aka most beautiful, kind, quirky, funny, romantic boy I ever had met or read. Please can I have one for Christmas?



Delirium by Lauren Oliver
My Review

Lauren Oliver can do no wrong. She blew me away with Before I Fall and did it once again with Delirium. Yet another beautifully written novel with such a unique idea behind it. A world where Love is a disease? That is devastating. I love the transformation of the main character, Lena, and her growing love for Alex. They have such a beautiful bond. The way that it ended though?! AGH! SEQUEL! NOW! PLEASE!



And here are the novels I am peeing my pants with excitement to get my hands on. I know many of these are at BEA this year, so I'm going to be stalking every attendees blog and twitter for the slightest hint they have one of these hot babies in their hands. Then I shall contemplate whether I have a conscience and use my ninja skills to sneak into their house and fight them to the death for their copy. Or just wait for the review to lust over. We'll see where my headspace is over the coming days.


11 Most Anticipated Titles of 2011:

What are your favourite 2011 novels? What are you most looking forward to this year?

Armchair BEA Day 2: Giveaways!

And it's Day 2 of Armchair BEA! What better way to kick of Tuesday than to giveaway some amazing books? Let's waste no time then, I know you're bouncing on your heels to see what's up for grabs!



ARC of Anna Dressed In Blood
(OMG I want to enter this myself!)

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott
(Two signed hardcover editions)
A HUGE thank you to Kendare Blake, Sophie Jordan and Elizabeth Scott for offering up copies of their amazing novels. I am DYING to get my hands on Anna Dressed In Blood, it looks deliciously creep-tastic and have you SEEN the reviews trickling in already? It's going to be big. I also LOVED Firelight, it's such a compelling, sexy read! And completely changed my opinion of dragons. I haven't read The Unwritten Rule but I NEED to, stat! Elizabeth Scott rocks and she writes amazing contemporary novels! I highly suggest you add each of these books to Goodreads or whatever book site you use!

While this giveaway is not open internationally, I will be having an international one next week!

Rules:
US only
(Elizabeth Scott is willing to ship The Unwritten Rule internationally if the winner pays for postage)
You do not have to be participating in Armchair BEA to enter
There will be 4 winners
You can enter to win all books or just one
Following is not required, but I'd love you for eternity if you did!
Ends Sunday 29th May 2011

Extra entries: 
+1 For anywhere you advertise this giveaway (twitter, facebook, sidebar, blog, goodreads, etc)

FILL OUT THIS FORM TO ENTER!

Good luck! And make sure you check out the Armchair BEA where tons of other bloggers will be linking up their giveaways!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Armchair BEA Day 1: Introductions!

Armchair BEA
Welcome to day one of Armchair BEA! Today is all about introducing ourselves and sharing what we're most excited for this week. I think this is such a great way for us poor souls not attending BEA to get involved. Bless thy internet for connecting so many incredible bloggers from all over the globe.

For all you new Armchair visitors, my name is Brodie, I was secretly the fifth co-founder of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry and 3 time winner of Witch Weekly's 'Most Charming Smile'. In my spare time I'm famous for my role as Seeker on the popular Quidditch team, Puddlemere United. That might be an exaggeration, but it sounds good so I'm sticking to it. (And fun fact: I'm a Harry Potter fanatic. Bet you couldn't tell). I'm a 20 year old vegan from Australia with an obsessive love of  Young Adult books. That's pretty much all I read these days. I love all genres - paranormal, dystopian, contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, historical (although I don't read that nearly as much as I should). As long as the plot intrigues me, I'll give it a go. I've been reading book blogs since 2009 but I only started blogging myself at the end of last year. 6 months on June 30th!

If you'd like to follow/stalk me (I'd love to stalk you back!), you can find me on twitter @peacelovevegan and Goodreads.

What I'm most excited for during Armchair BEA is hopefully to meet some more amazing bloggers. I love finding new people who share my love of reading and gushing with them about books we adore or else moan and groan together about WHY it is taking SO LONG for that hotly anticipated title to be released already! I would give anything to attend BEA in person, but for now I'm content to with the online version. And while I doubt I'll score myself a copy of Shatter Me or Bloodlines from sitting on my backside behind the monitor this week, I do believe I will meet at least one awesome new blogger. Heck, I already had the pleasure of emailing two fantastic bloggers thanks to Armchair BEA before the event even started!

Ash @ Smash Attack Reads who is posting an interview with me on Wednesday and Heather @ Geeky Reads who I'll be interviewing here on Wednesday. Both are sexy, talented bloggers and well worth the read. So I suggest you shimmy your way over and follow them both!

Leave a link to your own introductory post below and I'll hop on by to say hi!

Make sure you check back in tomorrow for Day 2 which includes a lust-worthy giveaway!
And be sure to head over to Armchair BEA to see the 400+ bloggers participating this week!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

In My Mailbox #4

 In My Mailbox is hosted by the super awesome Kristi at The Story Siren

Review:
Passion by Lauren Kate

A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

Super excited when I received Passion. It's not an ARC but a gorgeous, shiny finished copy! Which I'm reading at the moment, yay! I could not resist Wildefire. I hate reading on the computer but when Galley Grab tempts me with something like that, I lose my freel will. Sigh.

What's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Review: Bloodspell

Author: Amalie Howard
Release Date: June 1st 2011
Publisher: Langdon Street Press
Add it: Goodreads

The spell was simple …

CRUENTUS PROTECTUM. Defend the Blood.

But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?

Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds—much less one that reveals she’s a witch with unimaginable power.

What’s more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own …

Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood’s deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?
Amalie Howard manages to take two elements we see used in hundreds of different ways across an enormous number of YA books and breathe such a fresh new life into them. She stayed true to the darker aspects of witches and vampires while adding her own original spin on the mythology. Rather than just imply that, 'yes, this vampire is good and does not kill, but still struggles to keep his fangs in place' she shows the conflicting emotions, the terrible all-consuming temptation and she allows her characters to falter. Both Christian and Victoria, while battling the darker urges within them both, are trying to gain control. But they aren't foolproof. They slip up. The darker side takes control sometimes. And I love that she doesn't gloss over the consequences. People die. Blood is shed. The flaws and mistakes are what make these characters 'human'.

Relationships between witches and vampires has been forbidden for centuries. So they're also battling with the fact that they're basically starcrossed lovers, neither are permitted by the laws to come together in such a way. But how can you choose not to love someone?

The blood pulsing through Victoria's veins - the one with dark, terrible urges. That fights for control. For sacrifice. For death -  the one she calls the Cruentus Curse, is the very same blood that Christian's twin brother, Lucian is hunting. The vampires call the one with this blood Le Sang Noir. And Lucian wants her badly. Her abilities can give him the power and control he craves, not only over the vampires but possibly the witch clans too. But what he doesn't fully realise is the danger of this blood's temptation. Let's just say, that blood running through her veins? It's badass... in all kinds of horrific ways.

I also have to make note of the setting. We not only see the US, but beautiful Paris too! Christian and Victoria both make a few trips (pretty easy to travel between continents when you're a vamp who can fly and a witch with the ability to teleport) to Paris to visit the vampire Council. It the media release I received for the book, it said that Amalie has visited 141 cities in 18 countries (WHOA!), her travels definitely paid off because they give a great backdrop for the novel.

There's also a ton of action and fight scenes to keep readers on their toes. It does not shy away from bloodlust and the violence that you would expect from a guy who craves blood or a girl harbouring a murderous curse within her veins. Bloodspell is everything you could ask for when two supernatural worlds collide together. Amalie explores the darker side of vampires and witches all while maintaining the bond between our two main characters and their struggle to make their love work.

A unique and compelling mythology, deliciously forbidden romance, headstrong characters and a dark, haunting vibe that will keep you hooked until the very last page. I'm so happy this is only the first book in the series, I cannot wait to dive back into this world again!

Rating: 4.5/5 

For those interested, Amalie has a giveaway up on her website to win a signed copy of Bloodspell. You just have to tweet about it to be entered! I highly recommend you do to win a copy of this fantastic novel!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Blogger Hop and TGIF

TGIF is hosted by the wonderful GReads!

What was the first book you reviewed on your blog?
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride. I LOVED THIS BOOK! If you haven't read it already, you must do so soon. It was absolutely fantastic and I don't think I could have picked a better book to use as my first review on the blog. A brilliant combination of funny and creepy with such an awesome cast of characters and way cool supernatural elements. It totally sold me on necromancer books! It's a MUST READ!


Book Blogger Hope is hosted by the awesome Crazy-For-Books!
If you were given the chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book), which book would it be from and what would that place be?

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts! I better stop before I'm tempted to burst into the whole school song. Really, this question required no thought. There is no fictional place I have so longed to visit for the past ten years other than the world of Harry Potter. To study at Hogwarts with the moving staircases and the ghosts, the portrait of Sir. Cadogan gallantly following me up to the Divination tower, the feasts in the Great Hall, Gryffindor common room (although I'd totally be put in Hufflepuff), attending classes! And that's just ONE location. I'd go absolutely nuts in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, the Ministry of Magic would be super cool to take at a tour of (I'd probably be arrested for trying to sneak into the Department of Mysteries), THE BURROW! I want to live there on the school holidays. And I'd just have to put a jinx on myself so I could visit St. Mungo's. I'm ridiculously fascinated by all the magical ailments the patients are suffering from.

I'm going to go sit in a corner and cry over the fact that I can't make it there. Maybe if I can get to London some day and disappear through platform 9 3/4? A girl can dream. Sigh.

What about you guys?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Australian Bloggers - Boomerang Books Critics Club

I thought some Australian bloggers/reviewers might be interested in participating in this great new program from Boomerang Books, which gives you the opportunity to receive new and pre-release books in exchange for a review! It basically works the same way as the book tours that you see on many blogs. They send you the book, you review it and then pass it on to the next person on the list.

Here are the details from the website:

How does it work?


1.  To be considered for membership, you will need to be a Boomerang Books Member, live in Australia, and have submitted at least three book reviews via our website (see the Customer Reviews section on book pages).
2.  Once you have submitted at least three reviews, apply here to become an esteemed member of the Critics Club.
2.  Once accepted, you will be given access to the Critic Club's exclusive online forum.
3.  We will post regular offers of new release and pre-release review books on the forum.
4.  The first six Critic Club members to respond to the forum post with their mailing address will be our reviewers for that particular book.
5.  We will send the book to the first listed member by post.  The first listed member will have 7 days to read the book and mail it (at their own expense) to the second listed member.  The second listed member has a further 7 days to read the book and mail it to the third listed member.  And so on.
6.  Having read the book, each member is required to submit a book review of approximately 300 words on the designated book page on the Boomerang Books website.
7.  The sixth and final member on the mailing list is responsible for donating the used book to a local charity, such as the Salvation Army or the St Vincent de Paul Society.
8.  Failure to forward the book on in a timely fashion or to submit a book review may result in exclusion from this exclusive society!

Katniss Everdeen!

I know it was released hours ago, but I had to post this. SHE IS PERFECT! I look at that picture and I see Katniss Everdeen. This just makes me SO much more excited for the movie! I think Jennifer is going to do a fantastic job. I've heard so much praise for her in Winter's Bone, I really need to check that movie out.

What do you think? Does she scream 'Katniss'? Or are you not feeling she has what it takes to be the mockingjay?

I really hope they release a photo of Josh as Peeta. I have complete faith he is going to look ever bit the bakers boy as we could hope! Now, someone please get hold of a time-travel device and transport me to March 2012 please!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New layout

So updating my layout was a little less stressful than I anticipated given my talent at royally-screwing-up-HTML. I did have some issues, but it's mostly up now! I'm still tweaking, the link colours are kind of frustrating me because I can't get any colour that makes me happy. But a small complaint, I'll play more later.

Anyway, what do you guys think of my new layout? Yay or nay? The beautiful image in the header is courtesy of an incredibly talented artist on devianart, Thorn-lily. I wanted something that showed the magic of an open book and that fit perfectly :)

And because you're all so awesome, I'm having two giveaways in the next couple of weeks. One will be for Armchair BEA (if you haven't signed up already, go do so now!), which will have some amazing books up for grabs (US only, sorry!). However, at the start of June I'll be posting up an international preorder giveaway that will run throughout the month in celebration of my six month blogoversary on June 30th! Woohoo!

Waiting On Wednesday #17

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine where you can spotlight a book you're giddy with excitement to read so other people can be giddy with excitement too :)


Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Release Date: September 13th 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Add it: Goodreads

Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire . . . fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil . . . until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast—as the entrÉes.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?


Author: Claudia Gray
Release Date: September 13th 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins
Add it: Goodreads

It's about a servant girl named Tess in 1912, who wants to escape from the house where she works, and most particularly the lecherous young lord of the manor. But that's not her biggest problem. While on a voyage to America, where she plans to escape and start a new life, she meets Alec, who's ruggedly handsome, fabulously wealthy, intelligent and yet so clearly troubled that she'd rather not fall for him, but she does. That also is not her biggest problem. Alec, it turns out, is a werewolf ... one cursed to change every night, unless and until he surrenders his independence and joins the Brotherhood, a pack of violently misogynistic werewolves who have been tracking him for months. You'd think that would be their biggest problem, wouldn't you?

But no. Their biggest problem -- though they don't know it yet -- is that they're aboard the RMS Titanic.

Drink, Slay, Love: This one sounds fun! I think I was sold when it mentioned 'sparkly unicorn'. I haven't read any of Sarah's other novels, but this one is definitely on my 'must-read' list! 

Fateful: TITANIC. WEREWOLVES. Enough said! I went through a ridiculously obsessive stage with the movie Titanic when I was young because I was doing some major crushing (understatement: it was love. True love.) with Leonardio DiCaprio. I still find him dreamy from his Titanic days. Anyway, that sparked me doing practically every school assignment I was able to on the Titanic, so I'm really, really excited to read this. Combining two things I'm fascinated with. Although given the tragic end to Titanic, it does make me a little worried for the characters!

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review: What Happened To Goodbye

Author: Sarah Dessen
Release Date: May 10th 2011 (US) / May 30th 2011 (AUS)
Publisher: Penguin
Add it: Goodreads

In the past two years, Mclean Sweet has moved four times. At each stop, she assumes a new persona, but it never quite works. Whether she's an effervescent cheerleader or an intense drama queen, nothing can permanently dispel the turmoil and rage at her mother since her parents' divorce. Sarah Dessen's novel about a teenager and her restaurant manager father captures the vulnerability that young people often experience after the dissolution of their family. A compelling story; strong characterization; and with a touch of romance.

There is something so relatable, so wholesome, so comforting about Sarah Dessen's stories. They don't deal with the earth-shattering, good vs. evil, the whole-world-hangs-in-the-balance type of stories, but take issues that we've all struggled with in some form and explores them so realistically.

Every time she and her father move towns, McLean Sweet adopts a new identity for herself. Beth, Eliza, Lizbeth. All with their own set of hobbies and interests, each with a different personality. It's easy to understand why she does this - who hasn't, at some point, longed for the opportunity to be someone different? To let go of everything that defines you and completely start over fresh? She tries not to get close to people, form bonds. Because isn't it so much easier to just disappear without a goodbye when you have no attachments? That's what McLean does and what she plans to do in this new town. She was supposed to be Liz Sweet this time, but things don't always turn out the way you plan.

She makes genuine friends, becomes invested in the restaurant her father is fixing and the community model project, but more importantly let's one person in particular into her heart - Dave, the guy next door. She makes a home for herself. Something she hasn't done in a long time. Throughout it all McLean begins to realise that changing yourself isn't such a glamorous life - a cheerleading outfit or drama club can't hide who you truly who. You can't change what's in your heart and running away from everything that defines you, controlling everything about yourself and the people you allow into your life - it's not really living. It's okay to be guarded, but you don't 'choose' who you are, you don't 'choose' who your friends will be - life does that for you. And coming to Lakeview makes McLean realise how much she's been running away and not allowing herself to ever find a home again.

I really enjoyed all of the secondary characters, Deb in particular. They all come with their own issues and are layered, rather than just 2D stand-ins to accompany the protagonist and make it seem like a well rounded novel. They all have a purpose there and they all have an impact on McLean's life in some way. Especially her next door neighbour, Dave. Who becomes more than just the guy who pulled her into a storm cellar and saved her from an arrest. While Wes from The Truth About Forever is  my favourite of Dessen's love interests, Dave is definitely a worthy contender!

It's also really nice to see a strong parent-child bond  - not that they don't exist, it's just many books often lack in a solid relationship with either of the parents. McLean and her father are a tight unit, he's probably the only person she's allowed in over the years, but even he doesn't realise the full extent of McLean's need for recreating herself. On the other hand, the relationship with her mother is pretty much in tatters, but as the novel progressed and McLean began to make those realisations about herself and her life, I enjoyed watching that broke bond begin to repair itself.

Sarah's novels have a way of burrowing themselves in your heart and even teaching you a lesson or two alongside the main character. The characters, the setting, the issues explored and the relationships - both the blossoming and the broken - all create another stunning standout Dessen creation. What Happened To Goodbye shows us that's okay to be ourselves - better, even - because who are you if you don't open your heart to the world around you?

Rating: 4/5 

To all the Sarah Dessen fans out there... which is your favourite of her novels? Give me some recommendations! I want to read more of her awesomeness.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Review: The Girl In The Steel Corset

Author: Kady Kross
Release Date: June 2011 (Aus), May  (US)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Add it: Goodreads


In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her.
When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….
Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.
Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.
But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on—even if it seems no one believes her.


I'm reposting this since blogger still hasn't restored my post from their downtime the other day. I see most other blogs have, but this only returned to my drafts so I figure I may aswell repost. Sadly the delightful comments are gone :( Any new comments are very appreciated!


This was my first foray into the steampunk genre and I must say, I was quite fascination with all the technology. Okay, so I never really understand what the heck 'steampunk' meant. I just thought it sounded cool. Thanks to The Girl In the Steel Corset, I feel slightly less of a clueless idiot.

There's a Jekyll/Hyde drama happening within Finley Jayne. She has both a dark side and a good side - two entirely separate parts existing within her, both warring for dominance. Her darker side brings with it super strength and heightened senses, she's definitely not someone you want to mess with. Unless, of course, you like the idea of a broken neck. Throughout the novel we see as she struggles to gain some semblance of control over her dark side, which rears it's head when she feels threatened, fearful or else just manages to take over without her hardly realising. The novel opens right in the thick of things, having Finley's dark side emerge as she's forced to defend herself against the arrogant son of her employee. But when she comes to her senses and realises she very nearly killed him, she makes a run for it and collides directly in the path of Griffin King. An encounter which marks a whole new beginning for Finley.

Griffin's group of friends are a motley collection of characters, all with their own abilities and talents. Griffin, Duke of Greythorne, has an intriguing ability to tap into the Aether. Which really fascinated me, because I love all things that dwell on the spirit realm and auras and whatnot. But giving too much of himself to the Aether could have very dangerous consequences - I'm very curious to see this explored more in the sequel and how it will affect him. Then there's Sam, Emily and Jasper - I won't go into too much detail exploring their abilities, because I'd don't want to spoil people too much, but every character has their own inner demons and secrets to battle and it was interesting watching how the characters dealt with their problems. Since the book is written in multiple POV's, we gain a more rounded idea of what's happening with everyone.

I did have a couple of issues with the book. Firstly, while I enjoyed the novel as a whole, I did feel as though it could have been shortened quite a bit. It started off with action and intrigue and had me very interested, but as it progressed it did drag at times and I felt like certain sections could have been compressed to make it a more tighter, shorter book. The plot was a bit predictable, I guessed the villain the moment they were first introduced. I wasn't totally immersed in the light love triangle between Finley/Griffin/Jack. I mean, the characters were all well described and developed, I just didn't really feel the attraction and the chemistry there. And I think I'd find Jack much more bad-boy-sexy-with-a-caring-undertone if he'd stop using that Cockney accent! That's not a complaint against the book, it's just a pet peeve - even Finley comments on his butchering of the English language

On the whole, it was an enjoyable enough read. I loved discovering all the technology, the weirdly cool inventions that were brought into this world were fascinating. The "Organites" in particular. The characters were interesting and the 1800's setting with technology that could be of the future, but powered in totally different means to what we'd do nowadays was all very intriguing. I'm interested to see where the sequel takes us next.

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, May 14, 2011

In My Mailbox #3

 In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by The Story Siren
 




I didn't do an IMM last week because I only got Bloodspell and bought myself Smallville season 9 (thanks to Liz from Planet Print, I was inspired to catch up on Smallville before the finale today. Wow. What an awesome end to the series!), so I'm including Bloodspell this week. About halfway through and I love it!

Super excited about reading all of these. Hereafter sounds great, I loved the first Hex Hall and LIBBA BRAY! Enough said. I've read the Gemma Doyle trilogy and Going Bovine and I know Beauty Queens is going to be hilariously brilliant.

I've noticed some posts that blogger temporarily removed have been restored on other blogs- my recent review is still missing, so fingers crossed that they're just taking some time to fix everything back up and it's not lost completely!

What's in your mailbox this week?

Love your Dystopians? Or Kelley Armstrong?

Because I want to pimp out some great blogs that I love...

Two of my awesome friends, Precious from Fragments of Life and Kai from Amaterasu Reads are hosting an AMAZING event from May 12-28: Dystopian Domination. If you're a dystopian fan, you seriously need to check this out. They'll be having reviews, interviews, guest posts and of course, GIVEAWAYS! They'll be featuring some hot titles like Legend, Possession, Ashes, Burn Bright, Divergent and many more! You guys don't want to miss this! But feel free to not enter the giveaways and let me win them all ;)

They are such great girls and fantastic bloggers, so I urge you all to follow both their blogs and join in on the amazing event!



Also of note, another incredibly awesome friend of mine, Honey from Sniff Books Not Drugs, is hosting a 100 followers giveaway! She was fortunate enough to attend a Kelley Armstrong signing and so, because she's cool like that, she's giving away a signed omnibus featuring the Darkest Powers trilogy. Oh, and did I mention they were signed? And that it's open internationally? And that she totally rocks? Click here to enter!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kryptonite has weakened me from reading!

I've been really slacking on blogging/reading stuff this week. I've barely commented anywhere, I've read all of two chapters in the past 5 days and my Google Reader is seriously scaring me with that huge number of unread posts. I've been distracted - I've nearly finished watching the entire season 9 of Smallville in less than a week. All my spare time has gone into catching up - what are my chances of watching 19 episodes of season 10 before the 2 hour finale on Friday? (Well, Saturday in my time zone). I think if I continue my book/blog deprevation, I can do it!

I have two reviews nearly ready for posting, at least I have something remotely bookish to post. But yeah, I will get to reading blogs and commenting and burying my nose in Bloodspell (vampires and witches?! Hell yes!) very soon. I must finish my Smallville lovefest first. Since the upcoming finale is the final episode ever! Aussie tv is behind so I've taken it into my own hands to catch up. I'm really loving season 9. Anyone else a fan? I LOVE the Lois/Clark developments this season. They have such great chemistry.  Way more entertaining than Clark/Lana. Books or tv  - I'm a sucker for romance.


Might I also add, Callum Blue plays an excellent Zod! But seriously? He can freaking fly within days of getting his powers but after 9 seasons Clark STILL CAN'T?!  Glad I still have another season to watch, sad that I won't have any more new episodes after that :(


Alright, well I'm sure this post is boring for those who have no interest in the show. So I'm going to go watch the season 9 finale and then super speed through season 10!

Waiting On Wednesday #16

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine where you can spotlight a book you're giddy with excitement to read so other people can be giddy with excitement too :)


Author: Christine Seifert
Release Date: September 1st 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Add it: Goodreads

Daphne is the new girl in town and is having trouble fitting in. At least she has Jesse... sort of. He wants to be more than "just friends," but there's something he's not telling her about his past. Something dangerous. When a female student is brutally attacked, police turn to PROFILE, a new program that can predict a student's capacity for drug use, pregnancy, and violent behavior, to solve the case. As the witch hunt ensues, Daphne is forced to question her feelings for Jesse–and what she will do if her first love turns out to be a killer.



Author: Loretta Ellsworth
Release Date: September 27 2011
Publisher: Walker Books
Add it: Goodreads

Baxter Green isn’t like everyone else. While most people would forget about the little details of everyday life, Baxter never forgets—not pain, not hurt, not embarrassment. In fact, Baxter never forgets anything—not even a string of account numbers, flashed before his eyes by his mother’s criminal boyfriend, Dink, for use in a credit card scam. Years after his testimony has locked Dink away, Baxter and his mother are in a new town, trying to forget the danger Dink brought into their lives. Baxter wants to hide his unique ability, but it becomes increasingly more difficult when he reconnects with Hallie, a girl from his childhood who has lived on in his memory long after she has forgotten him. Can Baxter win Hallie’s heart? Loretta Ellsworth’s newest novel is one readers will never forget.

The Predicteds: I think the tagline on the cover says it all: "What if your boyfriend was destined to commit murder?" That's what first drew me in and then reading the synopsis, I'm 100% intrigued. A program that can predict how likely a person is to commit murder? Get pregnant? Take drugs? I'm already seriously questioning this PROFILE thing. Can't wait to see how that story plays out!

Unforgettable: This sounds really great. I'd love the ability to remember every single thing that happened in my life rather than just have a foggy recollection of moments from years past, but to remember it all - including all that stuff that you'd rather forget - in high definition viewing in your mind? Yeah, it could have it's drawbacks. I'm really looking forward to reading this and seeing how the relationship between Baxter and Hallie develops.

What are you waiting on?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Review: Saving June

Author: Hannah Harrington
Release Date: May 1st 2011 (Aus) / November 15 2011 (US)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Add it: Goodreads

‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again

This roadtrip is exactly what Harper, Jake and Laney needed. They were all connected in some way to June, they all felt the pain when she took her life and they were all still grieving from that tragedy. The intention was to take June's ashes to California in a way to set her free, to save a young girl who felt there was only one way out - but ultimately this journey saved them all. There were tears and laughter, hangovers, punches, protests, blossoming relationships and in the end, hope.

I love the rapport between these three and the snappy dialogue. I felt like I was riding along beside them in Jake's van, Joplin. Hannah has crafted such an easy novel to slip into - her writing is beautiful and so easy;  in that you'll literally find yourself 100 pages into this story before you even realise you've totally been needing to pee for the last 40 minutes, because you hadn't noticed anything other than the words on the page. The prose and the characters and the emotions and the music, they all compliment one another so well and come together to form this stunning novel.

I loved what grew between Harper and Jake. I loved these characters as individuals - such bold, funny,  independent, intriguing personalities and when they come together, it really makes for a dynamic pair. There's sexual tension and you can see spark of attraction growing deeper and deeper beneath the genuine friendship they developed over the journey. They argue and they fight and they both tell it how it is. I loved the realness and the honesty of their bond.

Music is a huge part of this novel. Jake is obsessed - I'm not sure there would ever be a moment of silence in his head because if he doesn't have a record or CD playing, then I've no doubt he has some in-built stereo system hard-wired to his brain to boom out everything from Johnny Cash to Coldplay. There's a certain scene in the book - when he plays Touch Me by the Doors, you'll know what I mean. But it totally made me laugh because in this really intense 'moment', he has to pause everything to get the right track for what's happening.  I'm not a huge music buff, so there are quite a few band names and songs mentioned that I was completely clueless about it. Though not once did that detract me from being so immersed in this story. I actually found myself looking up some of the tracks listed. Hannah has included a list of sound tracks at the end of the novel which I am totally going to youtube later!

This is an incredible book that really makes you realise that even the most beautiful, happy, 'together' person has their own issues. No one's life is perfect, we all have our inner demons and what's most saddening is that it gets so bad for some people that they feel they only have one escape - death.

The end was touching. And left me with a feeling of both sadness and hope. Sadness overall for what this story represented and the journey taken by these characters. Although you'll be laughing and smiling along the way just as much. The story may be over for me, but for them it's only just beginning. Saving June is an incredibly touching, humorous, powerful debut. It's song will still be playing in your heart long after you've finished. It's heart warming and heart wrenching, full of life and death, hope and salvation.

Rating: 4.5/5

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #15

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine where you can spotlight a book you're giddy with excitement to read so other people can be giddy with excitement too :)


Author: Alison Stewart 
Release Date: August 1st 2011  
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Add it: Goodreads

I want to go back to the days when life made sense. The days before our parents became strange; before the warming ate away at all the living things in the world; before The Committee and their Blacktroopers. Before the Wall.

Lily is a prisoner in her own home. Forced to stay inside by The Committee and guarded by their increasingly distant parents, Lily and her brother Daniel are beginning to ask why. Then, when Daniel disappears just before his seventeenth birthday, Lily knows she is next.

She has to escape.

But who else is out there?

And can anyone survive days like this?


Author: Courtney King Walker
Release Date: October 19th 2011
Publisher: Lands Atlantic Publishing
Add it: Goodreads

Claire is struggling to overcome the murder of her childhood friend and secret crush, Daniel. Everyone else seems to be moving on with their lives, but she's still trying to cope. The fact that she finds herself alone and drowning on her 16th birthday isn't helping.

Neither is thinking she sees Daniel's face in murky water as she mysteriously resurfaces. But something happened during those four and a half minutes that will make her realize it was not just her imagination.

As Claire and Daniel try to grasp a possible reconnection, other grudge-holding beings have plans of their own. Now, the two of them have to decide if their fleeting relationship is worth the possibility of Claire being trapped on the fringe forever.

Beautifully told, On the Fringe intertwines fresh ideas about devotion, revenge, and the consequences that come with life and death.


Days Like This: Two words: Australian dystopian!  With all the amazing new books coming out within the dystopian trend lately, it's so cool to see one set in my own country. The plot itself is enough to suck me in, add to that a local setting and I'm pumped for August!

On The Fringe: I love books that deal with ghosts and the afterlife - add to that a thrilling mystery and heartwrenching romance and we have a sure fire winner. The plot sounds so intriguing and I love the cover, very excited for this book! 

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I can't Forever sit in Silence over this beauty

I know, this has been posted on every blog and twitter already, but I only just jumped on the computer and saw the hot thing, so I HAVE to share it!


WOW. In the name of all that is angelic and fallen and HOLY WHAT A SEXY COVER!! Finally we see Patch and Nora together and the way they've done it is absolutely beautifully. I love the black and white, I love the stunning photography and I also love the fact that I'm imagining myself as Nora right now ;D

Hollywood Crush also posted an excerpt to Silence, as if we weren't itching to get our hands on it already:

He closed the distance between us, and just when I thought he'd drawn me against him, he stopped, holding himself in check. I exhaled, trying not to cry. He leaned his elbow on the door jam, just above my ear. He smelled so devastatingly familiar, soap and spice, the heady scent bringing back a rush of memories so pleasurable, it only made the current moment that much more difficult to bear. I was seized by the desire to touch him. To trace my hands over his skin, to feel his arms tighten securely around me. I wanted him to nuzzle my neck, his whisper to tickle my ear as he said private words that belonged only to me. I wanted him near, so near, with no thought of letting go.

"This isn't over," I said. "After everything we've been through, you don't get the right to brush me off. I'm not letting you off that easily." I wasn't sure if it was a threat, my last stab at defiance, or irrational words spoken straight from my splintered heart.

"I want to protect you," Patch said quietly.

He stood so close. All strength and heat and silent power. I couldn't escape him, now or ever. He'd always be there, consuming my every thought, my heart locked in his hands; I was drawn to him by forces I couldn't control, let alone escape.

"But you didn't."


Speaking of beautiful things, Maggie Stiefvater is at it again with her incredibly beautiful trailers. That woman is so freaking talented - books, music, art - is there anything she's NOT talented at? I bet I can fit more cupcakes in my mouth than her. Anyway check out this amazing trailer, I absolutely LOVE this stop-motion type of thing, it's brilliant.



Who else is excited for the release of Forever? You can preorder an autographed copy here And yes, I'm posting the Forever related stuff to enter her amazing contest to win the ONLY early copy of Forever before the rest of you suckers awesome people get to read it. Plus I'm dying to get my hands on her new upcoming book, The Scorpio Races. Because when Maggie Stiefvater writes something, you read it.

What do you guys think of the Forever trailer and Silence cover? 
Please wipe the drool off your face before posting your comment, I'm so not hiring a maid to clean up after you guys!

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