Saturday, March 31, 2012

In My Mailbox #37

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by the wonderful The Story Siren where we get to drool with one another over the awesome books that came in the post this week!


HUUUUGE thanks to Putnam Juvenile. I was just expecting Black City, but instead they surprise me with 3 more of their amazing titles!! <3 I finished Black City the other day and it was so good. The world Elizabeth has crafted is so darkly thrilling and addictive. I have high hopes for The Waiting Sky because... well, TORNADO CHASERS! That is just so cool and dangerous and the story sounds like it's going to have a lot of emotional depth. I can't wait! So excited to dive into that and the other Putnam reads - I'm craving contemporary lately, so these will feed my hunger.

I started The Hunt today. I'm only a few chapters in and already it is WOW. Creepy and intense and you just don't want to stop reading, but you have to cook and shower and do all that (apparently) necessary crap. BOO LIFE. I got The Hunger Games Movie Companion last week. I haven't read it properly yet, but I have flicked through it... and it makes me want to go see the movie all over again! *grabby hands at dvd release*

What yummies are in your mailbox this week?

I had an AWESOME book week, so to hopefully make two more people have an equally awesome week...  I consulted with random.org and the two winners of the Elemental ebook (the AMAZING prequel short story to the AMAZING Storm by Brigid Kemmerer) are.... Mimi Valentine and Nikki Donoghue! Congrats, girls! I'll be emailing you soon. And everyone else - GO BUY ELEMENTAL! And preorder Storm while you're flashing that shiny credit card ;)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer

Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: Out now!
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Google Books
Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they are more than you dream.

As an air Elemental, 17-year-old Emily Morgan doesn’t have much power. That’s okay—she knows what happens to kids who do.

Like Michael Merrick. He’s an earth Elemental, one with enough power to level cities. Which makes him sexy. Dangerous. And completely off limits. At least according to Emily’s family.

But her summer job puts her in close contact with Michael, and neither of them can help the attraction they feel. When forces of nature like theirs collide, one misstep could get someone killed. Because Emily’s family doesn’t just want her to stay away from him.

They want him dead.
Brigid Kemmerer is my new favourite author. I think it's obvious that I feel in love with Storm, so naturally, at mention of a prequel novella... uh, yeah, DOWNLOAD DOWNLOAD DOWNLOAD! If you haven't read Storm, fear not, no Stormy spoilers in this review and Elemental is set before Storm, so it's safe to read first.
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Michael is a young man weighed down with a lot of responsibility in Storm. He doesn't have the luxury most guys in their early 20's do, not when he's the guardian of his three teenage brothers. In Elemental, the prequel novella set 5 years before, we probe deeper into Michael's history and personality. He's an Earth Elemental, one who can harness astounding power, a Pure. That means he's dangerous and there are those who want him dead because of what he can do. Emily is the daughter of those people, but doesn't quite harbour their psychotic tendencies (alright, so maybe I'm a little biased toward her family). She's an amazing mix of sweet and caring girl-next-door, with a bit of a fierce streak. I wouldn't recommend getting on her bad side when there's a golf-putter within arms reach.

My heart really aches for Michael. Especially during a moment where he's genuinely happy, because so help me, I feel overjoyed that he's finally latched onto a bright spark in life. He's been on the receiving end of so much undeserved crap and yet he still remains so good at heart. He cares deeply about his family and he's just a decent person. So in life's typically cruel fashion, the girl who might be the one to offer a ray of sunlight just happens to be the sister of the biggest asshole in the country. It needs to be noted, very loudly, very boldly, how much I hate Tyler and his douche friend, Seth. My anger toward them raged a storm in.. well, Storm, and grew into something much more physical (okay, so trying to stab an ebook will have disastrous effects on your computer screen) in Elemental. They are jerks, end of story.

What I especially love about Elemental (and also Storm) is that it doesn't feel like your typical YA paranormal romance. The attraction is subtle, not always obvious, but hints at something that has the potential to be deep and earth-shattering. Something beautiful. Dangerous? Of course. But what's beauty without a little risk? The uncertainty of what they're feeling wars with the prejudices they've been fed while growing up. You're waiting on tenterhooks to see how things progress, for that blossoming attraction to break free. Every encounter between them feels so charged, and with every bitter, resentful word spoken, you can see the massive wall between them slowly crumble away, taking the anger and distrust along with it.

As she demonstrated in Storm, Brigid has once again channelled Geppetto and turned her fictional characters into real boys (and girls). Because they never feel flat or 2D, but fully fleshed, living souls, buzzing with a thousand different emotions that you feel right alongside them. You understand the motivation behind their every action and desire, what drives them forward, what makes them tick. You can't help but grow an emotional attachment to Michael and Emily, to believe in them, cheer for them and above all, hope for them.

Seeing as I've read Storm already, I know what the future holds for these two. I won't comment on that because it's ridiculously spoilery, but when you consider what happens after the ebook ends, oh my heart. It's experiencing a lot of activity. What kind of activity... well, I guess you'll have to read Storm to find out ;) We only catch a small glimpse of the other Merricks here, but I love that the twins, Gabriel and Nick, are just as naughty when they're 12 and Chris is so eager and lonely and you just want to envelope him in a massive bear hug. And have I mentioned that I freaking love these brothers?

Elemental is yet another reason why Brigid Kemmerer is a rising star in YA. She has phenomenal talent. That woman is going places. High places. I cannot recommend enough that you run over to Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Google Books and download this for just 99 CENTS! And then walk, don't run (who am I kidding, SPRINT) to preorder a copy of Storm. Heck, throw Spark, the sequel, in your cart while you're there, Gabriel will be immensely happy.

5/5 Golden Apples!

GIVEAWAY!  

Because I love the Merrick's so much, I'll give away TWO copies of Elemental from Amazon. If you don't have a Kindle (like me), you can download a very free and legit app from Amazon to your PC/ipad/phone/whatever that lets you read Kindle ebooks. To be entered, just include in your comment which elemental power you'd like to control - earth, fire, water or air? I'll pick winners on the weekend!

ALSO: Brigid is offering every person who downloads Elemental the chance to win a copy of Storm! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Winners! Guest Posts! Team Katniss! Sequels!

I have been in a real blogging slump the past week or so, I've just have no inspiration to do anything. But I'm hoping to climb right out of that soon and what better way than a post with no direction! So this is just a mash-up of.... stuff!

Firstly, winners! Because I was lazy and didn't do winner announcement posts:

Black City ARC:
Sarah from saz101

Nightshade trilogy by Andrea Cremer:
Catherine

Yay, congrats ladies! I've already contacted them both. I hope to have some more droolworthy giveaways coming your way next month!
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Be sure to check out A Daydreamer's Thoughts this week as I'm doing two guest posts on her amazing blog - one featuring the best places to read, which I somehow managed to include a shirtless photo of Henry Cavill and also a post on my Top Book Boyfriends!
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I take it most of you have seen The Hunger Games by now? NO? WHY THE HECK NOT?!

Two words can sum up my entire thoughts on the movie: JENNIFER LAWRENCE! My god, that girl is incredible. You can all battle it out with your Team Peeta, Team Gale, Team Haymitch or Team Buttercup nonsense... but I have my Team Katniss tattoo inked proudly on my forehead.. The reaping scene in particular broke my heart :( 

I thought everything in District 12 and the Capitol was absolute PERFECTION. I did have a few minor issues with things during the actual games, but overall, I absolutely loved it. It's probably my favourite book to movie adaptation ever. Is it time for the dvd to be released yet?!
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And to end on the post-with-no-real-meaning - have you guys realised just how many amazing sequels are coming out this year? Well, probably, since you're all avid readers, but seriously... THERE ARE SO MANY AMAZING SEQUELS COMING OUT THIS YEAR. Which am I most excited for?

 The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead, Spark by Brigid Kemmerer, Insurgent by Veronica Roth

 Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake, Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

And those yet to be graced with orgasmic covers... Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson, Dearly Beloved by Lia Habel, Patriot by Marie Lu, Unwholly by Neal Shusterman, Blood Storm by Rhiannon Hart.

Their predecessors were all BRILLIANT and became some of my favourite reads of 2011 and 2012. Many, like Bloodlines and Daughter of Smoke and Bone left us on cliffhangers that made us rip every strand of hair from our heads, while others offered a taste of what's to come or were just so damn good that the idea of not returning to the characters and their world again left us with a deep ache in our hearts (I'm looking at you, Brigid Kemmerer). And of course, there's Unwind, which fans have been waiting on a sequel for HOW many years now?! Finally, 2012 is the year!

Which sequels are you jumping up and down in giddy delight to read? And what did you think of The Hunger Games? And what colour underwear are you wearing today? Might aswell ask while we're playing 20 Questions...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: Catching Suki

Author: Sarah Alderson
Release Date: Already out!
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Add it: Goodreads
Download it for FREE: Girltank Facebook
The Unit are closing in and Demos needs one of his team to go deep cover.

Enter Suki.

Fashion obsessed, boy-crazy and more than a little kooky, Suki is a mind reader with a special talent for buying shoes and for listening in on private conversations.

Tasked with infiltrating the enemy (namely Jack and Alex) Suki rises to the challenge, leaving a trail of chaos, destruction (and a large room service bill) in her wake.

A prequel to the events of Hunting Lila and including many of the characters from the book, this short story told through Suki’s eyes, will have you laughing out loud and gripping the edge of your seat. 
Well, I HAD intended for this to be a 'mini' review since it's a short story, but... hah. Anyway, be sure to download your FREE copy of Catching Suki, while also supporting a fantastic cause! CLICK ME CLICK ME CLICK ME!

If you've had the chance to read anything by Sarah Alderson, then you'll know she has a knack for creating bold protagonists coupled with deliciously addictive writing. Hunting Lila was one of the standout debuts of 2011, brimming with action, suspense, scorching sexual tension, sexy guys in uniform and one endearingly kickass heroine. But also demanding for their own time in the spotlight were a cast of secondary characters, each as fascinating as those in the leading roles. One in particular, by the name of Suki Nakamura.

Suki is just your average mind-reader, who has an obsession with shoes and rabid appreciation for hot guys. She's perfect in her own beautiful and hilariously flawed way. She had me laughing out loud so many times with the thoughts that ran through her head (or often unintentionally shot from her mouth). She's such a vibrant narrator and sure, she's a little reckless at times, she forgets to add a filter before opening her mouth or forgoes the act of thinking before acting. But all this leads to highly entertaining reading, even though it may force the poor girl into some sticky situations.

I loved digging around inside her head, because her thoughts are so infectious. Trust me, when Suki goes off on a tangent about hot guys, your own mind will wander to unsavoury places. And when presented with the opportunity to admire Alex's... er... weapons.. heh, perhaps this short story isn't so short afterall, when you take a half-hour break to try daydream such fantasies into reality. I mean, he is a marine. And he wears a uniform. And he rides a motorcycle. And he's Alex Wakeman, PEOPLE. Duh.

For those who've read Lila, it's fun to gain a new appreciation for those moments we only saw from Lila's perspective, like Jack and Alex's reaction when she sends the text that she's coming to L.A or when Lila meets Suki for the first time. Fans will devour this additional glimpse into Lila and Suki's world, narrated by an adorable personality who manages to leave a lasting impression during her own 20 pages of fame. I am so excited to see more of her and the others in Losing Lila. Catching Suki is a welcome invite back into the lives that so many of us Alderson fans have grown to love, adding a few extra fun-filled and intense layers to the story.

Those who have yet to fall prey to Lila's captivating tale - WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR? - will still be swept up in this short, yet ridiculously fun taste of Sarah's writing and you'll no doubt enjoy sampling the many fabulous characters you have to look forward to when you read Hunting Lila. Because you are going to read it, right? RIGHT?

Those of you who have yet to fall prey to Lila's captivating tale.... pay absolutely no attention to me and listen to what Jo wrote in the comments. Catching Suki does contain some spoilers. It's best read as a companion to Hunting Lila, when you can gain full appreciation for the events unfolding and also remain spoiler-free during your Lila reading experience. I still highly recommend downloading it now, because it's free and you're supporting such a worthy cause, but run out and grab Hunting Lila before you read it! And trust me, LILA IS WORTH IT.


4.5/5 Golden Apples!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Watch the STORM book trailer!

If you remember that time when Lisa and I went one-on-one with the Merrick boys, or when I gushy-reviewed Storm, or when I forced you to go read the first chapter, or.... okay, so maybe you've heard about this book? Or am I not doing a good enough job pushing it on you? How about a visual aide to get you pumped for one of most thrilling, sexy novels of 2012?

IT'S BOOK TRAILER TIME!!



Those crazyamazngtalented people at Allen and Unwin, the Australian publishers of Storm, have put together this fantastic trailer to promote release. Pausing is required at 0:25 for obvious reasons.

How cool does it look?! I love the whole theme and I am SUCH a fangirl of the Aussie covers, so I love seeing them involved in promotion. Once you've watched, make sure you head over to Brigid's blog to let her know what you think!

Also, if you guys need a fix of Storm before release (just over a month to go!), then on March 27th you can download the ebook, ELEMENTAL. Which is a short story set before Storm, featuring the eldest brother, Michael. This is an AWESOME taste of Brigid's writing and her amazing characters and will leave you extra giddy to get your hands on Storm!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Review: The Killables

Author: Gemma Malley
Release Date: 14th March 2012
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon / Book Depository
Everyone accepted that people were different physically. But inside? Inside, they were different too. You just had to know how to tell, what to look for.

Evil has been eradicated. The City has been established. And citizens may only enter after having the 'evil' part of their brain removed. They are labelled on the System according to how 'good' they are. If they show signs of the evil emerging, they are labelled a K . . . But no one knows quite what that means. Only that they disappear, never to be seen again . . .

The basic premise reminded me a bit of Delirium... only completely opposite. In Delirium, people are cured of love by an operation to their brain. In The Killables, it's the same scenario, but with evil being the object of removal from a person. Every child at birth is forced to undergo the operation which removes the part of their brain that is said to be the source of evil - of corruption and ill desires. Citizens are ranked with a number - A, B, C, D or K. You want to be as close to A as possible, because they're the good ones, those who follow the rules and haven't allowed for darkness to overtake them. But labels can be changed. People can move up or down on the scale. Those moved down are outwardly shamed and ridiculed. But are they really as evil as the 'Brother' claims? Those labelled a K are too far gone, completely overtaken by evil and they're never seen again. Where do they go? Evie is about to found out... but is it her or someone close to her with the dangerous new label? I guess you'll have to read the book to find out!

There is a fair bit of 'info dumping' in the first quarter. I know some people have a problem with that, but I actually like it because with these type of societies, I'm always wanting to know more about the history and science of their world. I found it helpful to have all the information laid out for me early in the novel, so we know the kind of twisted environment Evie has grown up in and why it's affected her in the way it has. She's heavily under the Brother's influence and believes there is evil festering inside of her, so she works hard at trying to suffocate those dangerous thoughts. But she can't change who she is, much as she tries, and as the novel progresses we see her slowly break free from her beliefs. At times I wished she had more inner fire and strength, but she obviously can't change overnight. Her entire world and belief system has been turned inside out. She does grow a bit stronger by the end of the novel, where it's clear she's a changed girl. But there's still plenty of opportunity for growth in the sequel.

Raffy is the main love interest, but I'm afraid to say he got on my nerves most of the time. More often than not he's hostile and sarcastic. I can definitely understand where his anger stems from, he's been treated unfairly his entire life and there's been so much hate and rage building up inside him. Understandably, he's wary of certain claims and actions his seemingly emotionless brother has made, trust is not something that comes easy to him. But his attitude and constant cynicism made me want to kick him. A lot. And I can't say I really feel the chemistry between him and Evie, especially for having such a long history together. Moments he shares with her when he's more tolerable, they just didn't have the desired impact on me to make me believe in their love.

Lucas, on the other hand, is the brother who intrigued me the most. At first, you'd be forgiven for not giving him a second thought, but as you learn more about him, carefully hidden layers rise to the surface, and he pulls you in deeper and deeper. You want to know what moulded him into the person he is, what emotions truly lay behind those cold, blank eyes. Is he really as robotic as he appears? He's probably the one I'm most looking forward to seeing in the sequel, because there's complexities to his character I want to explore more. Not to mention I'm hoping he becomes even more central in Evie's life. Although his age was kind of jarring, I thought he was younger than what I discovered halfway through!

The plot did engage me, not once did I set it aside because I was bored or uninterested. But there was just something... missing. I think maybe I didn't form a complete connection with Evie (and certainly Raffy). I can't really pinpoint it. I enjoyed it, I just didn't love it. And that's probably why I rated it a 3.5 rather than a 4. I see 3.5 as more like than love. But I still absolutely recommend it! The Killables presents a fantastically crafted world, Gemma Malley transports you right into the heart of this twisted, futuristic society made real by the solid foundations she's built it on. Horrifying truths come to light as Evie explores beyond the Brother's reach, but can she and her new friends right the wrongs he has inflicted upon the City? Layers, mystery and a touch of romance, The Killables makes for an engaging addition to dystopian shelves!

 3.5/5 Golden Apples!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

In My Mailbox #36

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by the wonderful The Story Siren where we get to drool with one another over the awesome books that came in the post this week!


So I now have the entire Gallagher Girls series.... I just need to actually read them! I have read the first and it was a lot of fun, so I'm really eager to dive into the rest,, I just need to find the time! Out of Sight, Out of Time and Embrace were a (very nice!) surprise parcel from the publisher. They clearly read my mind, since I own Enticed and Emblaze, books 2 and 3 in the Violet Eden Chapters, but not Embrace. And since it's being released in US.... now? soon? I figure it's high time I caught up on them.

I'm reading The Killables at the moment and it's pretty good! The actual idea is kinda the opposite if Delirium. Where Delirium eradicates love by an operation to the brain, The Killables does the same but with evil. I'm a sucker for an intriguing dystopian! Really, really excited to start Of Poseidon (MERMAIDS!), though I won't be reading that until May and Silhouette until June, as per request to post my reviews then. Silehouette isn't my usual read, but it sounds fantastic and came recommended. Plus it's from a breakout debut Aussie author and I heart Aussie writers <3

So in all I had a pretty awesome book week! Excited to dive into all these delicious reads :)

What's in your mailbox this week?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Review: Revived by Cat Patrick

Author: Cat Patrick
Release Date: April 2nd AUS / May 1st US
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont / Little, Brown Books for Young Reades
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon / Book Depository
As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger — and more sinister — than she ever imagined.
Cat Patrick throws us into the miracles of Daisy's life right from the beginning of the novel. It's not often the main character dies within the first two pages. Even rarer when she's walking, talking and travelling out of state by the third page. Cheating death is a natural phenomenon to Daisy. She should have died at the age of 5 when she was involved in a tragic accident, but instead she was selected for a secret scientific experiment to test a drug called Revive. Rightfully named, as it brings the gift of life back to it's subject with a well-timed injection. But with each death, she and the agents acting as her parents must relocate, adopting with new identities to avoid awkward questions like, "How the *BEEP* are you alive?!" After her fifth death, Daisy Appleby becomes Daisy West, and while she's accustomed to settling into a new school, she's not familiar with growing emotionally attached to people. But Omaha is home to the McKean siblings, a girl and a boy who are about to unintentionally rumble Daisy's entire world.

Daisy has a very real, girl-next-door kind of vibe. She's an easily likable character, her emotions and sweetness make her relatable, while her unique upbringing give her a compelling aura. In ways, she does take life for granted. Death is not a threat she's really had to fear, with the Revive drug just an injection away from bringing her back. But that all changes the more she becomes invested in her new life. She may have outwitted death all these years, but it strikes back in a way she never expected, forcing Daisy to reassess her own life, the ethics of the Revive drug and especially to question the motives of the man who created it. She shows visible growth as the novel progresses and I really enjoyed watching her change.

While I'm not sure any can live up to the heart-fluttering, sugary sweet romance of Luke and London from Cat's debut novel, Forgotten, Daisy and Matt were an endearing pair. It's nothing mind-blowing, but the blossoms of first love. It begins as an innocent attraction, cute and genuine, but the rosy hue doesn't last forever and their loyalty is tested when an event completely shatters their worlds. Something that could either draw them closer together or be the bridge that painfully separates them forever...

I did go into this book expecting something completely different. The US cover gave me more of a dystopian feel, with the impression that there would be lots of action and intensity. That's likely my own fault for reading too much into it. While I do love the US art, the Australian one (shown above) has a more softer, contemplative, contemporary feel which is a truer representation of the story. So really, that was my only problem: My expectations were different to what the story shaped up to be. And the fact that I couldn't help but compare it to Forgotten, because that was one of my favourite reads last year. And while I did enjoy Revived (obviously!), I had to tell my inner voice to shut the heck up and stop saying, "He's nice, but he's no Luke Henry..." etc.

Once again Cat has pieced together a beautifully written novel. I won't say if she leaves us on a happy or sad note, but I love that her endings feel very realistic and not always what you typically expect from these kind of YA books. Just as she did in Forgotten, Cat is brilliant at surprising you with a well-timed twist that in retrospect, you really should have seen coming, but just didn't see the clues until the very last minute. The second half of the novel picks up the pace as suspicions arise, the mystery deepens and our protagonist is weighed down by an emotional upheaval that inspires some thought-provoking questions. Revived is an engaging read from a wonderfully talented author with a penchant for a unique premise!

4/5 Golden Apples!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Get excited: Extract 1 of 4 from Slated by Teri Terry!

Starting today, for the next four weeks leading up to publication, I'll be treating you all to a special extract from Teri Terry's debut novel, SLATED. Excited? You should be! Doesn't the cover alone hook you in? Those green eyes are crazy compelling! Not to mention the plot. Memories erased. Blank personality. Terrorists. Corrupt government. OOOOH. I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Slated and it definitely lives up to the engrossing synopsis - it's a gripping, thought-provoking read!

So read on. Get hooked. And come back next Thursday for another few chapters that will have your fingers twitching to preorder a copy! Huge thanks to the publisher for allowing me to take part in this as Slated and Teri Terry takeover the blogosphere :)

Slated by Teri Terry
Released May 3rd 2012 by Orchard Books
Kyla's memory has been erased, her personality wiped blank, her memories lost forever.

She's been Slated.

The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla's mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?

EXTRA! EXTRA! IT'S AN EXTRACT!


Prologue

I run.
      Fists of waves claw the sand as I force one foot to pound after the other. Scramble up, slip down, repeat. Faster. Eyes fixed on dunes ahead. Don’t look back. Mustn't look. Ragged breath; in, out; in, out. Still I run.
      Just when lungs might burst and heart explode, a crimson star on the sand, I stumble.
      A man turns back. He pulls me to my feet and urges me on.
      It’s getting closer.
      I cannot stand, and fall again. I can run no more.
      He kneels to hold me, and looks in my eyes. ‘It’s time. Quick, now! Put up the wall.’
      Closer.
      So I build it, brick by brick. Row by row. A high tower, like Rapunzel’s, but this has no window, nowhere to lower my hair.
      No chance of rescue.
      ‘Never forget who you are!’ he shouts, grips my shoulders and shakes me, hard.
      A blanket of terror obliterates the sea. The sand. His words, the bruises on my arms and pain in my chest and legs.
       It’s here.

Chapter One
Weird.
      All right, I haven’t got much experience on which to base this judgement. I may be sixteen and I’m not slow or backward and haven’t been locked in a cupboard since birth – so far as I know – but Slating does that to you. Makes you lacking in experience. 
      It takes a while for everything to stop being firsts. First words, first steps, first spider on the wall, first stubbed toe. You get the idea: first everything.
      So today feeling weird and unknown could just be that.
      But I am biting my nails and sitting here waiting for Mum, Dad and Amy to pick me up at hospital and take me home, and I don’t know who they are. I don’t know where ‘home’ is. I don’t know nothing. How can that not be…weird?
      Bzzzz: a gentle warning vibration from the Levo atmy wrist. I look down: I’ve dropped to 4.4, the wrong side of happy. So I have a square of chocolate and it starts a slow climb up as I savour the taste and watch.
      ‘Much more of your nerves, and you’re going to get fat.’
      I jump.
      Dr Lysander is framed in the door. Tall, thin and white-coated. Dark hair pulled straight back. Thick glasses. She glides, silent as a ghost the whispers say, always seems to know before it happens when someone falls into red. But she’s not like some of the nurses who can bring you back with a hug. She isn’t exactly what you would call nice.
      ‘It’s time, Kyla. Come.’
      ‘Do I have to? Can’t I stay here?’
      She shakes her head. An impatient flick of her eyes says I’ve heard this a million times before. Or, at least, 19,417 times before, as 19,418 is the number on my Levo.
      ‘No. You know that isn’t possible. We need the room. Come.’
      She turns, walks out the door. I pick up my bag to follow. It is everything I have but it’s not heavy.
      Before I shut the door, I see: my four walls. Two pillows, one blanket. One wardrobe. The sink with a chip on the right side the only thing to mark my room as any different from the endless row of boxy rooms on this floor and others. The first things I remember.
      For nine months, the boundaries of my universe. This and Dr Lysander’s office and the gym and school one floor down with others like me.
      Bzzzz: more insistent now, it vibrates up my arm, demanding attention. Levo’s dropped to 4.1.
      Too low.
      Dr Lysander turns, clucks under her breath. She bends down so we are eye to eye, and touches a hand to my cheek. Another first.
      ‘Truly, you will be fine. And I’ll see you once a fortnight to start with.’
      She smiles. A rare stretching of lips across teeth that looks uncomfortable on her face, as if unsure how it got there or what to do once it did. I am so surprised I forget my fear and start to climb away from red.
      She nods, straightens and walks down the hall to the lift.
      We go silent down ten floors to ‘Ground’, then down a short hall to another door. One I haven’t been through before for obvious reasons. Over the top it says ‘P&R’: Processing and Release. Once you pass through this door, you are never seen again.
      ‘Go on,’ she says.
      I hesitate, then push the door part open. I turn to say goodbye, or please don’t leave me, or both, but she is already disappearing into the lift with a swish of white coat and dark hair.
      My heart is thumping too fast. I breathe in and out, and count each time to ten until it begins to slow, like they taught us; then square my shoulders and push the door open wider. Over the threshold is a long room with a door at the far end, plastic chairs along one wall, two other Slateds sitting with a regulation bag like mine on the floor in front of them. I recognise both of them from lessons, though I’ve been here much longer. Like me, they are out of the pale blue cotton overalls we always wear, and into actual jeans. Just another uniform, then? They are smiling, thrilled to be leaving hospital at last with their families.
      Never mind that they’ve never met them before.
      A nurse at a desk on the other wall looks up. I stand in the doorway, reluctant to let it shut behind me. She frowns slightly, and flicks her hand to beckon me in.
      ‘Come. Are you Kyla? You must check in with me before you can check out,’ she says, and smiles widely.
      I force my feet forward to her desk; my Levo vibrates as the door shuts with a swoosh behind. She grabs my hand and scans my Levo just as it vibrates harder: 3.9. She shakes her head and holds my arm tight with one hand, and jabs a syringe into my shoulder with the other.
      ‘What is that?’ I ask, pulling away and rubbing my arm, though I am pretty sure I know.
      ‘Just something to keep you level until you are somebody else’s problem. Sit down until your name is called.’
      My stomach is churning. I sit. The other two look at me with wide eyes. I can feel the Happy Juice begin to ease through my veins, taking the edge off, but it doesn’t stop my thoughts even as my Levo slowly rises to 5.
      What if my parents don’t like me? Even when I really try – which, to be fair, isn’t all the time – people don’t seem to warm to me. They get annoyed like Dr Lysander when I don’t do or say what they expect.
      What if I don’t like them? All I know are their names. All I have is one photograph, framed and hung on my hospital room wall, and now tucked in my bag. David, Sandra and Amy Davis: Dad, Mum and older sister. They smile at the camera and look pleasant enough, but who knows what they are really like?
      But at the end of it all, none of this matters, because no matter who they are, I have to make them like me.
      Failure is not an option.

Chapter Two

‘Processing’ doesn’t involve much. I am scanned, photographed, finger printed and weighed.
      It turns out ‘Release’ is the tricky bit. The nurse explains on the way that I need to say hello to my mum and dad, that they and I will sign some papers to say we are all now one big happy family, and then we will leave together to live happily ever after. Of course I spot the problem, straight away: what if they take one look at me, and refuse to sign? What then?
      ‘Stand up straight! And smile,’ she hisses, then pushes me through a door.
      I paste a wide smile on my face, convinced it won’t transform me from scared and miserable to angelic and happy; more like, demented.
      I stand in the doorway, and there they are. I almost expect to see them posed like they are in the photograph, wearing the same things, like dolls. But each of them is in different clothes, different positions, and the details fight for notice: too much at once, all threatening to overwhelm and send me into the red, even with the Happy Juice still lingering in my veins. I hear the teacher’s bored voice, over and over again with the same words, as if she were standing there next to me: one thing at a time, Kyla.
      I focus on their eyes and leave the rest for later. Dad’s are grey, unreadable, contained; Mum’s soft flecked light brown, impatient eyes that remind me of Dr Lysander, like they miss nothing. And my sister is there, too: wide dark almost black eyes stare curiously back at mine, set in glowing skin like chocolate velvet. When the photo was sent weeks ago, I’d asked why Amy was so different to my parents and me, and was told sharply that race is irrelevant and no longer worthy of notice or comment under the glorious Central Coalition. But how can you not see?
      The three of them sit in chairs at a desk, opposite another man. All eyes are on me but no one says anything. My smile feels more and more like an unnatural thing, like an animal that died and is now stuck on my face in a death grimace.
      Then Dad jumps out of his chair. ‘Kyla, we’re so pleased to welcome you to our family.’ And he smiles and takes my hand, kisses my cheek, his rough with whiskers. His smile is warm, and real.
      Then Mum and Amy are there, too, all three of them towering inches taller than my five foot nothing. Amy slips an arm through mine, and strokes my hair. ‘Such a beautiful colour, like corn silk. So soft!’
      And Mum smiles then too, but hers is more like mine.
      The man at the desk clears his throat, and shuffles some papers. ‘Signatures, please?’
      And Mum and Dad sign where he points, then Dad gives me the pen.
      ‘Sign here, Kyla,’ the man says, and points to a blank line at the end of a long document, ‘Kyla Davis’ typed underneath.
      ‘What is it?’ I say, the words out before I can think before you speak like Dr Lysander is always telling me.
      The man at the desk raises his eyebrows, as surprise then irritation crosses his face. ‘Standard release from mandated treatment to external sentencing. Sign.’
      ‘Can I read it, first?’ I say, some stubborn streak making me go on even as another part whispers bad idea.
      His eyes narrow, and he sighs. ‘Yes. You can. Everyone, prepare to wait while Miss Davis exercises her legal rights.’
      I flick through but it is a dozen pages of long, close typed print that swims before my eyes, and my heart starts thumping too fast again.
      Dad puts a hand on my shoulder, and I turn. ‘It’s all right, Kyla. Go on,’ he says, his face calm, reassuring; his words and Mum’s the ones I must listen to from now on. And I begin to remember a nurse patiently explaining this all to me last week: that is part of what is in this contract.
      I flush, and sign: Kyla Davis. Not just Kyla, any more: the name picked by an administrator when I first opened my eyes in this place nine months ago, after her aunt who she said had green eyes like mine. An actual second name that belongs to me, as part of this family. That is in this contract someplace, too.
      ‘Let me carry that,’ Dad says and takes my bag. Amy links her arm in mine, and we go through one last door.
      Just like that, we leave behind everything I have ever known.


Mum and Dad study me in the car mirror as we spiral up out of the car park under the hospital towards the exit. Fair enough as I study them back.
      They are probably wondering how they got two such mismatched daughters, and nothing to do with the skin colour I’m not supposed to notice.
      Amy sits next to me in the back seat: tall and busty and three years older at nineteen. I am small and slight with wispy blond hair; hers is dark and thick and heavy. She is va-va-voom, like one of the male nurses says about another nurse he fancies. And I am…
      My brain searches for a word the opposite of Amy and comes up empty. Maybe that, in itself, is the answer. I am a blank page. An uninteresting one at that.
      Amy is wearing a flowing red patterned dress with long sleeves, but she pulls one up now so I can see her Levo. My eyes widen in surprise: so she was Slated, too. Her Levo is an older model, chunky and thick where mine is a thin gold chain with a small dial, meant to look like a watch or bracelet but fooling nobody.
      ‘I’m so happy you are my sister,’ she says, and she must mean it as it says 6.3 in big digital numbers.
      We get to the gate; there are guards. One comes up to the car and others watch behind glass. Dad hits a few buttons and all the car windows and the boot open.
      Mum, Dad and Amy pull up their sleeves and hold their hands out the windows, so I do the same. And the guard looks at Mum and Dad’s empty wrists and nods, then he goes to Amy and holds a thing over her Levo and it beeps. Then he does the same thing to mine, and it beeps, too. He looks in the boot and slams it shut.
      A barrier in front of the car rises and we go through.
      ‘Kyla, what would you like to do today?’ Mum asks.
      Mum is round and pointy, and no that isn’t ridiculous. Her shape is round and soft but her eyes and words are sharp.
      The car pulls on to the road and I twist round. The hospital complex I know, but only from the inside. It stretches side to side and up and up. Endless rows of little barred windows. High fences and towers with guards at regular intervals. And…
      ‘Kyla, I asked you a question!’
      I jump.
      ‘I don’t know,’ I say.
      And Dad laughs.
      ‘Of course not, Kyla; don’t worry. Kyla doesn’t know what she wants to do, she doesn’t know what there is to do.’
      ‘Now Mum, you know,’ Amy says, and shakes her head. ‘Let’s go straight home. Let her get used to things for a bit, like the doctor said.’
      ‘Yes because doctors know everything,’ Mum sighs, and I get the sense of a long-standing argument.
      Dad looks in the mirror. ‘Kyla, did you know that fifty percent of doctors finished in the bottom of their class?’
      Amy laughs.
      ‘Honestly, David,’ Mum says, but she is smiling also. ‘Have you heard the one about the doctor who couldn’t tell his left from his right?’ Dad says, and launches into a long story of surgical errors that I hope never happened in my hospital.
      But soon I forget all they are being and doing and saying, and stare out the window.


      London.
      A new picture begins to form in my mind. New London Hospital is losing its central place, shrinking in the sea of what surrounds it. Roads that go on and on, cars, buildings. Some near the hospital are blackened and boarded; more are full of life. Washing on balconies, plants, curtains billowing out windows. And everywhere: people. In cars, walking along the street. Crowds of people and shops and offices and still more crowds of people, rushing in all directions, ignoring the guards at the corners who get fewer the further away we are from the hospital.
      Dr Lysander has asked me many times. Why do I have a compulsion to observe and know everything, memorise and map every relationship and position?
      I don’t know. Maybe I don’t like feeling blank. There are so many details, missing, that need to be set right.
      Within days of remembering how to put one foot in front of the other and not fall over, I’d walked and counted and mapped with pictures in my mind every floor of the hospital that was access allowed. I could have found each nurses’ station, lab and room by number blindfolded; I could close my eyes now and see it all before me.
      But London is a different matter. A whole city. I’d have to go up and down every street to complete the map, and we seem to be on a direct line trip to ‘home’, a village an hour west of London.
      I’d seen maps and pictures of course, at the hospital school. Hours every day they’d spoon feed us as much general knowledge as our blank brains could soak up to prepare us for release.
      How much this was varied. With me I gripped each fact and memorised it, drawing and writing things over and over again in a notebook so I couldn’t forget. Most of the others were less receptive. Too busy smiling great dopey grins at everything and everybody. When we were Slated, they upped the happy in our psychic profiles.
      If they upped the smiles in mine, they must have been non-existent to start with.



What do you think?! Excited for the book? Tune back in next Thursday for more!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Valentine's Event: Wrap Up Post & Winners!


So, a belated wrap-up, but we wanted to wait until we'd drawn all the winners so we could include everything in the one post. This may be long, but please bear with us :)

First off - what a month!! We were hoping to pull it off, but wow... you guys made February such a huge success! Every single one of you who read, commented or advertised are so freaking amazing. We loved the enthusiasm you showed in the comments. Whether it was about your favourite book boys or squeeing over a super hot teaser :) We hope you discovered some new reads along the way or else enjoyed that extra something from your favourite authors!

The biggest of shoutouts goes to Lisa!! This girl is amazing, dedicated and perhaps a little crazy, but I could not have asked for a more awesome co-host :) The late nights we spent working on this may have caused for some delirious conversations and many "ASKJHADSD!" exclamations (we are both now very well versed in capslock Jibberish), but it was so worth every minute of it. Plus, she brought plenty of sexy (in the form of Neal Caffrey .gifs) to help keep our sanity alive. Seriously though, she's a beautiful girl and I had so much fun doing this with her! I LOVE YOU, LISA! <3

To every author (the list is HUGE), who contributed something to this event, whether a guest post, teasers, exclusive scenes, interviews or prizes, words cannot describe how much we appreciate the time and energy you invested! We had so much fun squeeing over your posts and we know our readers did too!

To the publishers: Scholastic UK, Harper Collins AUS, Hardie Grant Egmont, Hachette AUS, Bloomsbury AUS, Pan Macmillan AUS, Harlequin AUS, Macmillan US, Random House AUS, HarperCollins US, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Little Brown Young Readers, Hodder Children's UK - you are all so incredible! We appreciate everything you do for us bloggers/readers and we cannot thank you enough for your donations!
Voting Results

Alright, we know you're all screaming at us to get on with the winners already! But firstly, winners of a different kind. Curious who won the Best Boyfriend Battle and Love Triangle Debates? Dun dun dun daaa..... let's introduce our newest champions!

Best Boyfriend Battle
Man, this was INTENSE. The final showdown involved three very different, but equally swoonworthy guys. Logan from the Shade series, Alex from Hunting Lila and Sam from Shiver. Honestly though, it was more of a face-off between Logan and Alex. The loyalty and dedication from their fans blew us away. But only one could triumph and Team Keeley and Team Kilt from the Shade trilogy banded together to put all their support behind Logan in an impressive finale!

Winner: Logan Keeley from Shade
_________

Love Triangle Debates
You all voted fiercely for your favourite guy in each love triangle! So many swoony guys, but only one could survive each battle! Are you surprised by the results? Some were insanely close, while in others there was a clear favourite! Big thanks to all the amazing writers who defended each guy! <3


Xander vs. Ky (Matched):
Winner: Ky

Ren vs. Shay (Nightshade):
Winner: Ren

Tucker vs. Christian (Unearthly):
Winner: Christian

Luc vs. Gabriel (Personal Demons):
Winner: Luc

Edward vs. Jacob (Twilight):
Winner: Edward

 Jem vs. Will (Infernal Devices):
Winner: Will

Peeta vs. Gale (The Hunger Games):
Winner: Peeta

Daniel vs. Cam (Fallen):
Winner: Daniel

Aiden vs. Seth (Half-Blood):
Winner: Aiden

Ash vs. Puck (The Iron Fey):
Winner: Ash

Lucas vs. Derek (Born at Midnight):
Winner: Lucas

Asher vs. Devin (A Beautiful Dark):
Winner: Asher

Dimitri vs. Adrian (Vampire Academy)
 Winner: Dimitri

Simon vs. Derek (The Darkest Powers):
Winner: Derek


Tod vs. Nash (Soul Screamers):
Winner: Nash

Cassian vs. Will (Firelight):
Winner: Cassian


COVER PUZZLE ANSWERS
  1. Undeadly by Michelle Vail
  2. Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
  3. The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin
  4. Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
  5. Lucid by Ron Bass & Adrienna Stoltz
  6. Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
  7. Auracle by Gina Rosetti
  8. Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
  9. The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda (original cover art)
  10. Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt
  11. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
  12. Tangled Tides by Karen Amanda Hooper
  13. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
  14. Everneath by Brodi Ashton
  15. Poison Heart by S.B Hayes
  16. Darkness Before Dawn by J.A London
  17. Underword by Meg Cabot
  18. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
  19. The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze
  20. For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund
GIVEAWAY WINNERS!

There's lots of you! Some won more than once, since all giveaways were separate. Click the appropriate link to find out what your prize pack contains! We've sent an email to all winners, so if you could please respond within 72 hours with your mailing details, that would be fantastic! 

To all those who didn't win - we're sorry! Will hugs, hot boys and choc-chip cookies ease your depression?? To everyone who did win - CONGRATULATIONS! We hope your enjoy your yummy new reads :)


COMMENT CONTEST
List of prizes can be found HERE.

International Prize Pack
 Sonia from The Story Queen

US Prize Pack
Krista from Nawanda Files 

UK (Immortal City ARC + Signed Shiver trilogy)
 Liz from Planet Print

UK (Immortal City ARCs)
Cait from The Cait Files

Australia Prize Pack #1
Alice S.

Australia Prize Pack #2
Shirley from Shiirleyy's Bookshelf

Australia and New Zealand Prize Pack #1

SCAVENGER HUNT:
List of prizes can be found HERE.

International Prize Pack

US Prize Pack
Amanda from Letters Inside Out

UK (Immortal City ARC):
Anstice from Creative Therapy
Nicola D.

Australia Prize Pack #1
Karen H (Kalasyn)

Australia Prize Pack #2
Rebecca from ReadingWishes

Australia Prize Pack #3
Alice S.

BOYFRIEND BATTLE
List of prizes can be found HERE.

International Prize Pack
Eunice from Book Overdose

US/Canada Prize Pack
Jennifer M. from Some Like It Paranormal

UK (Immortal City ARC):
Alex S.
Mina from Gripped into Books
Emma from Witchblood

Australia Prize Pack

Australia & New Zealand Prize Pack
Celine from Forget Me Nots

DEBATE VOTER
List of prizes can be found HERE.

International Prize Pack
LitzaLou from Kaleidoscope Reveries

US Prize Pack #1

UK (Immortal City ARC):
Suzan L.
Laura F.

Australia Prize Pack #1
Alice S.

Australia Prize Pack #2
Teresa Luong

Australia/New Zealand Prize Pack
Jenelle from Midnight Book Thief

COVER PUZZLE
List of prizes can be found HERE.

International Prize Pack
Carina from Carina Books

US/Canada Prize Pack
Lioness

US Prize Pack
Natalie from Mindful Musings

UK (Immortal City ARC):
 Iona from Inky Pages
Iffath from Painting With Words
Kara-Karina from Nocturnal Book Reviews

Australian Prize Pack #1
Kimberly from Baggins Book Bladder

Australian Prize Pack #2
Sarah @ saz101

Australia and New Zealand Prize Pack #1

Boyfriend Quiz
List of prizes can be found HERE.

International Prize Pack
giddusadik

US Prize Pack
 Holly H.

UK (Immortal City ARC):
Steph from Steph Likes Books

Australia Prize Pack #1
Michelle from Novels on the Run

Australian Prize Pack #2:
Kimberley from Two Girls and a Novel

Australia and New Zealand Prize Pack #1
Jo-Anne from Strange Candy Reviews

DEBATE WRITER PACK
List of prizes can be found HERE.

International Prize Pack

Publisher Favourites:
List of prizes can be found HERE.

UK (Immortal City ARC):
Debbie from Forever Reading
Sabina
Kulsuma

Australia/New Zealand Date A Book (2 packs, 2 winners)
 Chandra

Jessica Shirvington - Date A Book Giveaway
List of prizes can be found HERE.
Mary P.

Ruth Warburton - Date A Book Giveaway
List of prizes can be found HERE.
Pavan


Saturday, March 10, 2012

In My Mailbox #35

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by the wonderful The Story Siren where we get to drool with one another over the awesome books that came in the post this week!

A HUUUUGE thank you to my amazing Psychotic Sidekick, Sarah from saz101 for the gorgeous copy of Fire! There was glitter involved. And lots of stamps. And maybe vegan chocolate, but some greedy person devoured it already *subtly licks sticky brown substance from face* I loved Graceling, so I'm super excited to see what Fire is like, especially since Sarah says she likes this even better than the first! THANK YOU, LOVELY! It was her birthday last Thursday, so you should all go follow her as a belated present :)

Before I started reading, I thought the US cover fit the idea of Revived better than the Australian (shown above), but 3/4 way through and the Aussie fits the feel of the story more. The book isn't quite what I was expecting, but I am liking it! Choker is super short, so hopefully I can squeeze it in soon. I've heard it's got a really creepy vibe? Brodie intrigued!

What's in your mailbox this week?

Read the first chapter of STORM by Brigid Kemmerer!

Weee ooooo weee oooo *is a siren*
Your attention is needed over at Brigid Kemmerer's blog!

Remember that super awesome book I recently reviewed? The one with five hot boys? Four who are brothers... WHO CONTROL THE ELEMENTS. You may remember one in particular who plays with Fire from when he totally wanted to hook up with me? (Don't worry, I never plan to let any of you forget it).

Ringing a bell? Come on, you're not that dense.... add in one kickass heroine, simmer over a healthy dose of action, romance and emotional intensity and serve atop some snappy dialogue. Ha, don't lie, I can see you drooling already!

Well, to cut my rambling short, Brigid has posted the first chapter of STORM on her blog!! CUE THE SQUEE.

-Pauses for Squee-

Be warned, once you have a taste, you'll be BEGGING for more. But if you suffer from Impatience... uh, forget I said that. Just go read it. It's amazing!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: Winter's Light (Winter's Shadow #2)

Author: M.J Hearle
Release Date: May 1st 2012
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Fishpond World
Blake is gone.

He sacrificed himself to save Winter, leaving her alone, unprotected... hunted.

An ancient enemy is rising, but Winter is no longer the innocent girl who was fated to die at Pilgrim's Lament. She will not wait to be saved. She will do what she must to survive, even accept an unsavoury alliance with those who destroyed her love.

In the gathering darkness, the enemy of an enemy is not always a friend, and Winter must find the strength to stand alone and fight for the one she loves. For she is the key to unlocking the secrets beyond the veil of shadows.

And she is Blake's only hope.

Three months have passed since the tragic events at Pilgrim's Lament. Three months Winter's has had to deal with her grief over losing Blake, while living with the knowledge of all she learnt about the Dead Lands and her own unique abilities. She's about to attend her high school graduation - putting yet another piece of her life behind her - but what she doesn't realise is that life after school may offer something far more unsettling. Attacked by two Demori, Winter finds an unlikely saviour in Sam, one of the Bane who aided in Blake's demise. He may have just saved her life, but can she really trust him? More troubling is that Winter now has a deadly enemy in a Demori who will stop at nothing to exact his vengeance.

Winter shines for her strength and initiative in this novel. She's determined, a girl on a mission, fueled by love and the promise of saving what she thought was lost to her. She's very independent and I liked seeing her faced with difficult decisions. While sometimes you're warning her against doing something, you can sympathise with her reasons why and she's smart enough to understand the risks. Sam was a very welcome addition to the cast, I loved that Hearle probed deeper into his character. He may not have always done the right things, but he's now away from his father's influence and a much better person for it. He's trying to atone for his past mistakes and while you have suspicions that he may still be hiding something from Winter, you can't help but feel for him. I also love that we saw plenty of Jasmine. Too many times the best friend is there but often gets pushed to the side when the heroine is off on a dangerous supernatural mission. Here, Jasmine knows of the otherworldly dangers Winter is entangled in and regardless of the risks, she sticks by her friend's side, loyal until the end... despite that she's just as terrified as Winter!

As with Winter's Shadow, Hearle once again gives us a glimpse into the past - two thousand years ago, to be exact. I especially loved this element of the story. Lamara was a fascinating character who made a decision powered by love, just as Winter is doing now, but it lead Lamara to the heart of the Dead Lands. Straight into the terrifying hands on the Malfaerie. I so enjoyed reading the time spent there, because the Malfaerie are horrific, power-hungry things and I was caught up in Lamara's tragic, yet darkly thrilling story.

We're still immersed in the haunting atmosphere of Hagan's Bluff, but we also see more foreign scenery with the Dead Lands and a glimpse of Paris. And it's in Paris that we meet the Bonnaires, a long line of family (perhaps not all by blood, but definitely by loyalty) who hunt down the Demori. They want Winter for a very specific reason... but are their motives to be trusted? And is Blake's potential rescue worth the risk of what they want to unleash?

Sacrifices demand to be made and Winter must learn to trust her instincts. But when they're warning her against the one plan that may save Blake from his eternal doom, how can she turn away? The stakes are raised even higher in the sequel. Hearle brilliantly weaves two captivating tales from the past and present, which intertwine despite the time that separates them. Winter's Light will hook you back into its dark and eerie world from the very first page and once you turn the last, you will be hungry for the next book after the cliffhanger you're left on! Packed with even more action and intensity than the first, Winter's Light keeps you on constant alert, with twists you won't see coming until the very last minute and danger that urges you to read faster.

A must read for anyone who enjoyed the first book and definitely a series you should try if you're looking for something new in a slew of paranormal cliches!

4.5/5 Golden Apples!

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