Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: Unrest by Michelle Harrison


Author: Michelle Harrison
Release Date: Already in stores!
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Find more reviews at: Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Elliott hasn’t slept properly for months. Not since the accident that nearly killed him. Sometimes he half-wakes, paralysed, while shadowy figures move around him. Other times he is the one moving around while his body lies asleep on the bed. His doctors say sleep paralysis and out-of-body experiences are harmless - but to Elliott they’re terrifying.

Convinced that his brush with death has attracted the spirit world, Elliott secures a job at a reputedly haunted museum, determined to discover the truth. There, he meets the enigmatic Ophelia. But, as she and Elliott grow closer, Elliott draws new attention from the dead. One night, during an out-of-body experience, Elliott returns to bed to find his body gone. Something is occupying it, something that wants to live again - and it wants Ophelia, too . . .

I've always been fascinated with astral projection and out-of-body experiences, so to find a YA book which explores both these elements? Brodie EXCITED. And Michelle Harrison did not disappoint in bringing them to life with a creepy bite and a welcome emotional depth. It's easy to sympathise with Elliott. His life has gone on a downward spiral ever since the accident, where death took hold for a good two minutes before paramedics could revive him. Ever since, his sleep has been anything but restful. Out-of-body experiences, terrifying sleep-paralysis and less-than-friendly visions from a ghost who committed suicide in his bathroom... well, you can see why he's a little screwed up. When he takes on a job at Past Lives, a haunted museum/park, in order to find out if he's crazy or actually experiencing these things, Elliott discovers things can actually worse. Spirits scarier than the girl from his bathroom, a gripping mystery that runs deeper than he could imagine and the nail-biting threat of possession. On the flip side, I found his new job inspired him to become more motivated, more alive than he had ever been after the accident, and a budding romance definitely helps balance out the creepy sh!t in your life!

Sleep is our sanctuary; where we can shut off from the stress and worries of our daily life and drift off for a few hours into a peaceful oblivion. But for Elliot, sleep is the most frightening part of his day. Imagine your spirit, your consciousness - whatever you want to call it - your sense of self, being separated from your physical body. You're no longer tangible in the solid, earthy world. You see, but cannot be seen. It's a very unsettling thing, but I find it also has the potential to be liberating and exciting at times. Though what is most spine-chilling is when something... someone... slips into Elliott's body while it's unoccupied. Someone with a purpose, fueled with furious need for it to be carried out. Michelle did an excellent job of making you share in Elliott's feelings of desperation, his terror and utter helplessness the first few times his body was possessed. To watch as someone else controlled your body, but you're unable to do anything about it? It's downright scary. Elliott has to battle for ways to maintain control, yet throughout it all - the possessions, the ghosts haunting his sleep, his exploration of his astral self - it never once felt unrealistic or over-the-top. There was always a very grounded, believable feel to the story.

Elliott has his flaws, but at heart he's a really good guy. He's very determined when he has a goal and whether he acknowledges it or not, he has quite a soft spot. I couldn't help but become emotionally invested as he struggled through everything. He develops a surprising relationship with Ophelia, a girl who also works at Past Lives. It's far from being love-at-first-sight, or even attraction-at-first-sight, and I think that's what made me all the more intrigued. There's a slow build of trust and chemistry between the pair and it was a shock to both of them as they slipped behind one another's protective shields. I like that their relationship was founded on genuine emotion and often disregard for appearance, rather than "omg you're so beautiful, I don't deserve you! angst angst angssssst!"

I didn't find any of the spirits in this book written just to scare the reader. It's true each has a dark and creeping aura clinging to him, but with patience comes understanding and revelations that will both shock and tug at your heartstrings. The mystery itself is brilliantly executed. I managed to pick up on a few  vague hints much later in the novel, but the actual reveal? Oh my god. I could not tear my eyes away from the pages. As it all quickly unravelled at the end, so did my mouth. It was shocking, tragic, and downright distressing. I'm still rattled by the turn of events. It's one of those endings that will send shivers up your spine long after you finish.

Brilliant on all accounts, Unrest is sure to unnerve readers enough to sleep with one eye open. Eerily realistic hauntings, emotionally moving history and a mystery to keep you guessing, it all builds up into an incredible, yet devastating finale. Don't think for a moment you'll be able to pull away, because once the restless spirits have a hold over you, they're not too fond of letting go.

 4.5/5 Golden Apples!

Add it: Goodreads

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Harry Potter Post 2.0: Just because it's fun!


I know, I know, I know. Two Potter-themed posts in as many days? Well... I... erm... hmm.

[has no legitimate excuse]

This is just a 'chill' week with posting. I won't have a new review up until Friday, so in the absence of any new content (I COULD do a news post because OMG have you seen all the amazing cover reveals lately?!), I wish to share the findings of my 3am youtube ventures from the other night. Maybe I was delirious from lack of sleep or maybe nargles got to my brain, but I was cracking up laughing at these!


FIRST: This video is one of those inspired by "Sh!t Girls Say"... Harry Potter style! AND. IT. IS. SO. ME. Well... if I were a cute guy with a British accent ;) I swear, I've even done the lame things like Lumos and the Dementors joke hahaha. And the J.K Rowling phone call and DOBBY. YES. YES. AND YES. Surely every Potter fan can relate to some of these? They've also done a "Stuff Hunger Games Fans Say" video!



And secondly: This is just FUN. And THERE ARE SO MANY REFERENCES. Snape and his Potter Pals song, Emma's haircut, Hagrid's umbrella wand, Weasley is our King, what I *think* is a disturbing reference to Equus with Harry's... love of the horsie LOL. And SO many more. You have to watch each of them for all the little nuggets and reactions to one another than are just fun to watch.


 Do you have any favourite Potter (or other fandom) videos?

P.S I'm way beyond commenting on my regular blog hangouts, but I'll come by and stalk you tomorrow after a few hours sleep, promise! *creeper face on*

Edit: I'm sure most of you have seen this one, but just because the crazy amazing Miriam never lets me forget it after I made the mistake showed her it's awesomeness one night, I have to link to this. HARRY POTTER FRIDAY PARODY. LOVE! By the Hillywood Show! I can NEVER get that out of my head hahaha.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Philosopher's Stone!


"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."

15 years ago on this day, unknowing souls across the world cracked open the spine of a book that would become the most successful piece of fiction in history. 26th June 1997, the world discovered that a skinny boy with glasses and a lightening shaped scar was a wizard. There is no exaggeration in saying this date will go down in history. Harry Potter rocked the literature world and in it's 15 years of life, it has affected the heart and soul of millions of readers. 5 years after the release of the final book and I am STILL NOT OVER IT.

Last year, Sonia from The Story Queen, Liz from Planet Print and Honey from Sniff Books, Not Drugs and I had a ton of fun as we banded together for a Harry Potter Week to celebrate the release of the final movie. I haven't anything planned for this epic moment, but I think today is worthy of at least a post to acknowledge my love and gratitute for Potter and Rowling and the publishers and everyone who made these books come alive.

So, let's just talk! I want to hear your favourite quotes, your release day stories, how you got into the series, how it's changed your life. What made you cry? Laugh? Gasp? Do you have favourite fanfiction or videos? Which book is your favourite? Do you like the movie adaptations? TELL ME ANYTHING. EVERYTHING. Just post a Potterific comment!

Where I answer random questions about the series:

art by: corkart

Most memorable moments: "There was a clatter as the basilisk fangs..."  Yes, the Ron/Hermione kiss! The movie kiss was nice, but it had nothing on the book. And Harry being there to witness added a beautiful touch of humour. Years waiting for those two to finally break down that wall and just GO FOR IT. And boy, Hermione went for it :) Also: Fred & George leaving school was epic. The Prince's Tale will stay with me the longest; so many answers, so many emotions. Neville the BAMF killing Nagini. Harry defending McGonagall's honour when Amycus spat in her face. EVERY DEATH IN THE STORY.

The death that affected me most: My heart broke for Sirius, Dumbledore, Lupin, Tonks and especially Fred. But no death in fiction has ever quite rocked me as much as Dobby's did. God, his BURIAL. I swear, the first time I read this I was BAWLING. I had to stop at one point because I couldn't see through the tears. I never saw it coming. I knew this book would be war and death and sacrifice, but Dobby? Brave, beautiful, annoyingly adorable, overly-helpful Dobby? It tore my heart to pieces.

Favourite Hogwarts teacher: I adore Hagrid with all my heart, but I think there are very few of his classes I would genuinely enjoy. Blast Ended Skrewts? I SHUDDER. McGonagall is definitely the one I'd respect the most, but I think my favourite would be a toss up between Lupin and Flitwick. Both seem like teachers you can have that really easy-going student/teacher relationship with and their classes aren't rigid or strict, but have a relaxed vibe to them, yet you're still absorbing tons of knowledge. They're just cool.

Favourite book: Books 4 through to 7 are my absolute favourite in the series. Deathly Hallows itself probably trumps all. While I miss their yearly school antics at Hogwarts, this was just epic on all kinds of levels and by far, the most emotional for me.

Favourite movie: Deathly Hallows part 2, without doubt. Though it deviates from the book at points and missed a few things, I think it's fair to say that this is the most faithful adaptation in the series. And the acting just went up a notch by everyone, it was AMAZING. AND SNAPE. SNAPE. SEVERUS SNAPE *wails*


Most hated character: DOLORES UMBRIDGE. Though Voldemort has murdered so many innocent and Bellatrix took Sirius & Dobby from us (and tortured poor Neville's parents to insanity), there's something enigmatic about these villains. You LOVE to hate them and you're morbidly fascinated with what they have planned next. But it's Umbridge who I genuinely want to stab in the eye with a pen. SHE IS A SICKLY SWEET BEAST OF A WOMAN. Maybe it's her prejudice for so called 'half-breeds' or the lengths she goes to achieve her twisted means. I JUST HATE HER. Plus, her stupid anti-werewolf legislations screwed Lupin's chance of ever getting a job. She's a bitch.

Most loved: ALL OF THEM. ALL OF THEM. The entire Weasley family! The twins, of course. And I freaking love Ron and his humour and shitty moods. Hermione is beautiful and brave. Neville is a BADASS MOFO. Dumbledore, so wise and flawed. Luna, inspiring and FREE. DOBBY. Harry, our hero who is not perfect, but so admirable. Hagrid, the biggest softie of them all. I CANNOT CHOOSE.

Random Awesome Quotes:

"How d'you spell 'belligerent'?" said Ron, shaking his quill very hard while staring at his parchment. "It can't be B-U-M-"
"No, it isn't," said Hermione, pulling Ron's essay toward her. "And 'augury' doesn't begin O-R-G either. What kind of quill are you using?"
"It's one of Fred and George's Spell-Check ones... but I think the charm must be wearing off..."
"Yes, it must," said Hermione, pointing at the title of his essay, "because we were asked how we'd deal with dementors, not 'Dugbogs,' and I don't remember you changing your name to 'Roonil Wazlib' either."
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Dumbledore: "That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to understand. Of house-elves and children's tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped."
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Harry: "You know your mother, Malfoy? The expression on her face - like she's got dung under her nose? Is she like that all the time or just because you were with her?" 
__________________________________________________________________

Ron, you know full well Harry and I were brought up by Muggles!" said Hermione. "We didn't hear stories like that when we were little, we heard Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Cinderella - "
"What's that, an illness?" asked Ron.
__________________________________________________________________
"Who's Kreacher?"
"The house-elf who lives here," said Ron. "Nutter. Never met one like him."
"He is not a nutter," said Hermione.
"His life's ambition is to have his head cut off and stuck up on a plaque like his mother," said Ron. "Is that normal, Hermione?"
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"I don't want to stay here overnight," said Harry angrily, sitting up and throwing back his covers. "I want to find McClaggen and kill him."
"I'm afraid that would come under the heading of 'overexertion,'" said Madam Pomfrey.
__________________________________________________________________

Harry looked around; there was Ginny running towards him; she had a hard, blazing look in her face as she threw her arms around him. And without thinking, without planning it, without worrying about the fact that fifty people were watching, Harry kissed her.
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"They'’re evacuating the younger kids and everyone’'s meeting in the Great Hall to get organized,”" Harry said. "“We'’re fighting.”"

^ For some reason, this one always gives me chills when I read it in the book.
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"All was well. "

NOW SHARE YOUR POTTERISMS WITH ME!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Author: Dan Wells
Release Date: Out now!
Publisher: HarperCollins
Add or Buy: GoodreadsBooktopia | The Nile
Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.

When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.

Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.

You know those books that you read a quarter of the way through and you just want to jump online and gush about it? And by the end, you're busting with excitement because that was one HELL OF A RIDE and you want everyone to know about it? Yeah, Partials is that book. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, years after the Partials (genetically engineered humans) declared war on their human creators and unleashed a deadly virus into the world. The RM Virus decimated a shockingly large percentage of people and now, 11 years on, humanity is becoming extinct. Every woman is required by law to get pregnant once she turns 18, but no matter how many girls become impregnated, every new baby dies within 3 days of birth.

16 year old Kira works as an intern in the maternity ward, but she struggles with the death and grief she witnesses there, day after day. When her best friend becomes pregnant, Kira can't... she won't allow for the baby to die, so vows to do whatever it takes to find a cure. Even if it means risking her life. Even if it means doing something that could incite a new war. Kira is right up there with some of my favourite heroines. She's got courage, spirit and a beautiful kindness, but stubborn as a mule (something I can relate to!). She is a poster child for standing up for what you believe in. Even when the risks are paramount and she admits fear to herself, she still doesn't back down. I loved how she defied authority, because it's never for stupid or petty reasons, but always for selfless or noble goals. Sure, one could say some of her actions are reckless. Me? I'm raising my fist to the air and cheering her on!

The friendships and banter were so entertaining! You will grow to love many of the secondary characters just as much as you do Kira. I was especially fascinated by Samm, who we meet later in the novel. I can't say much about him, because everything I want to say is a spoiler, but he kept me glued to the pages, eager to discover more of his story or get a glimpse of what really hid behind his poker face. As much as I love romance, I am SO happy it didn't overshadow the plot in Partials. And it was a refreshing change that Kira was already in a relationship. It's sweet and endearing, but certainly not without it's many troubles, which I found made it all the more realistic to read. Plus, I adore Marcus!

I love how Dan Wells can twist your entire perception so easily. He creates a setup, feeds you information from one perspective so that you can't help but form an opinion and then.... he shatters it. Again. And again. I love how he showed that you shouldn't take things at face-value. Not everything or everyone can be categorised as 'good' or 'evil'. And especially the question of humanity plays a key role. Dan forces you to acknowledge the motivations behind everyone's actions, to the point where you're often conflicted by how you should feel. You don't like what they're doing, but you can appreciate where they're coming from. And that takes talented writing to bring across. Nobody likes to sympathise with what they oppose.

Partials is SUCH an engaging novel. This futuristic world is well explored and feels believable, with a ton of adrenaline-pumping action and twists I didn't see coming. Yet there is still clearly potential for even more in the coming novels. There's a balanced mix of science, history, medicine, strategy and some good ol' ass-kicking. Not to mention the emotional and political issues, all of which make this such a perfect read for both guys and girls. Partials offers a story that entertains just as much as it forces you to think. It's a thrilling standout of 2012, and the end clearly sets things up for the next chapter in Kira's journey... which I am freaking excited to embark upon!

 4.5/5 Golden Apples!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Witchcraft Blog Tour: Interview with Daniel & Giveaway!


Earlier this year, Emma Mills stopped by the blog to interview Jess, the main character from her vampy-witchy-angel novel, WITCHBLOOD. And now I'm super excited to welcome her back as she gets the lowdown on Jess's vampire boyfriend (and maker!), Daniel.

I've yet to read either book, but Witchblood has been receiving some excellent reviews! And with a combination of vampires, witches, angels, romance and a healthy dose of dark and sexy, it's no wonder people are loving it! So read on, meet the man of the hour and at the end you'll find a giveaway to win a e-copy of WITCHCRAFT!


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http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LMJZPqUwB5A/TzelS_1Lk0I/AAAAAAAAB70/HRG21Q-olCg/s1600/DSCF7349.JPG
Interview with Daniel

Q: Can you tell me what it was like for you when you first laid eyes on Jess? What was going through your head? 

Daniel: When I first saw Jess, she was staring at me across my boss’s nightclub, Exodus. She looked like a normal human girl, but there was something I couldn’t identify that made her stand out. I had already fed that night, I wasn’t hungry…but I wanted her instantly, and I wanted to do more than just feed from her.

Q: Okaaay! So when did you know you wanted to turn her? Is that what you mean?

Daniel: No, that’s not what I meant. I wasn’t intending on turning anyone that night, and you’re not supposed to turn others until you have reached your hundredth year… I knew I had to turn her when I saw her dying in the alleyway. It was an instant gut reaction and Eva knew it was important and backed me up.

Q: At under a hundred years old, I believe you were one of Sebastian’s youngest vampires, before Jess came along, and yet you have lived through so much history? Do you have any childhood memories that particularly stand out to you?

Daniel: Not really, our human lives fade away and become nothing more than the odd flicker of recollections. I remember the nanny or my ayah as she was called, when we lived in India. I remember the smell of humanity down by the hot, dirty rivers where we played. They were happy times. I remember my fiancé… we don’t like to remember the past. It is better to forget.

Q: Okay, so back to you and Jess… What is your favourite thing about her?

Daniel: My favourite thing about Jess? Ha… I guess her eyes. I am drawn in, and turned on in equal measures when I look into those eyes, and yet they can reveal so much stubbornness I could happily shake her.

Q: What was it like for you when you first realised that she wasn’t going to be an average vampire?

Daniel: I’m not sure. I had nothing to compare it to so it didn’t irritate me as much as it did Eva. Eva hated the fact the Jess wouldn’t take instruction, that she thought for herself, but I wanted to protect her. She was going through so much, and I could feel her pain and confusion. I didn’t really care that I couldn’t control her.

Q: Some fans are a little confused as to the nature of your relationship with Eva, and yet Jess seems to understand your close relationship and not feel threatened. Has this always been the case?

Daniel: There may have been the odd sarcastic comment early on, but Jess knows that my relationship with Eva is purely platonic. Sure we had a fling when she turned me, but that was ninety years ago. She is my maker and my best friend, I look up to her and will always watch her back, but my heart belongs to Jess.

Q: Wow, so finally, and before I swoon and fall of my chair, I have heard that there is considerable tension between yourself and Luke, her ex-boyfriend. How do you feel about him remaining in her life?

Daniel: (Daniel sighs & stares across at the wall) Luke is Luke, and will always be a pain in the… No, I’m sorry. Sure we have our issues, but Luke is her ex-boyfriend and I don’t believe there are any feelings between them anymore. I don’t understand him, and never will… he’s an angel and we naturally don’t get on, but I guess he has done a lot for Jess, and if it wasn’t for him, and his mistake I wouldn’t have Jess in my life, so for that I am thankful.

Q: So Jess is still in your life then? There are rumours…

Daniel: We may have hit a few difficulties, but Jess is in my life, Jess is my life.

Thanks so much for your time, Emma and Daniel!! I loved your answers! 
Readers, be sure to check out the next stops on the tour over at Emma's blog!

Find Emma & her books at...

Jess is no ordinary vampire. Protected by the Manchester vampire clan, and initiated by her family’s east coast American coven, she is sought after by every dark witch and warring vampire faction. Jess must fight if she wants to keep hold of her friends, her sanity and finally her existence.

As the dead bodies of human girls begin to stack up, and her recently accepted vampire boyfriend, Daniel, finds himself in prison, Jess goes on a crazy, forbidden trip to London, racing against time to save an old friend and solve the mystery behind Daniel’s incarceration. In battling new enemies and finding new friends, Jess’s confidence finds room to grow, but who will she lose along the way?

Want to win an e-copy of Witchcraft?!
Thanks to the amazing Emma, I have ONE e-copy of Witchcraft to giveaway! And if you need Witchblood before sinking your teeth into the sequel, it's currently only $0.99 on Amazon!

Details:
Open internationally
Ends 3rd July 2012


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

  Is there anything hotter than a guy (half) in a fireman suit?

Turns out there is. GABRIEL MERRICK in a fireman suit. And a little ol' book called SPARK SPARK SPARK SPARK SPARK SPARK SQUEEEEEEEE!!!

And now that is out of the way....



Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: August 28th 2012 (US) | October 2012 (AUS)
Publisher: Kengsinton Teen (US) | Allen & Unwin (AUS)
Add or Buy: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.

Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Like the fire that killed his parents.

Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it.

More than Gabriel’s pride is at stake -- this could cost him his family, maybe his life. And no one seems to hear him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.

Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.

The fuse is lit…

Tensions are running at an all time high in the Merrick household and Gabriel is right at the centre of it. It was fascinating to read from his perspective this time, so different from Chris in Storm. His element is fire and that reflects on his personality type: explosive. Gabriel has a tendency to fly off the handle pretty quickly, but here we get to see the churning emotions behind his harsh words. He'll have you slapping your forehead in exasperation at times, when he's prone to acting ten seconds before he thinks, but you grow an understanding of why he is who he is. I love how Brigid explored the fire element and how it affects him. Gabriel clearly has a much tougher time with his powers than his brothers do. That's not to say they haven't their own set of issues, but fire is volatile and it's always craving power, needing to burn brighter. Gabriel's struggle to find an amount of control over it in Spark was unpredictable and exciting, just like the boy himself.

I was a ridiculous fangirl of Gabriel in Storm (oh, you noticed?!), so I had no doubt he would set my heart aflutter in Spark. But I'm not sure I was fully prepared for how much he would break it. Spark has claws. Sharp and unforgiving, they dig into Gabriel's heart and force him to face every dark demon he tries to keep buried. Guilt, anger, regret and unworthiness tear at him from the inside and all I wanted to do was hug the crap out of him (and then have someone hug the crap out of me). He WILL make you hurt, he WILL stab your heart with the strength of his pain and oh, I love it. I hate what it does to him, I hate seeing him break the way he does, but I LOVE the emotional angst! And even though it feels like the entire world is against him at times, I really think he needed this period in his life. To learn from it and grow. I love that we explore Michael and Gabriel's messy relationship. Things between them weren't always the best in Storm and while there is still plenty of tension in Spark, they're developing a tenuous truce which leads the way for some really touching moments. Gabriel also forms an unexpected friendship that had me giddy to see unfold from the minute it was hinted at! But it's with Nick, the most important relationship in his life, the one constant throughout it all, where cracks show that are devastating to read.

What I love about Gabriel and Layne (our leading lady and thief of Gabriel's heart) is that in ways, they are polar opposites. The brainy girl who flies under the radar, and the cocky, sporty guy who's not much of an academic. Yet once they enter orbits, they can't ignore the pull; the itch to scratch those outer layers and figure each other out. They have the ability to challenge and inspire, to push one another of their comfort zones for the better. They each battle their own issues; Gabriel with his turbulent emotions and trouble with the law, Layne with the ghosts of her past and her complicated family situation (I love her brother, Simon!), but united, they make a beautiful pair. Strengthened by their belief in one another, something no one else has really offered either of them before.

Spark is all about the fire... there's burning buildings and fiery emotions, but the heat also makes the romance ten times steamier. When Gabriel Merrick unleashes his sexy... goddamn, HE UNLEASHES HIS SEXY. Every moment between Gabriel and Layne is electric; whether they're arguing, skirting around one another or just letting all loose and fogging up your windows. It's HOT. And you're constantly left craving MORE.

I began to grow suspicious about part of the mystery midway through, but Brigid still had plenty of surprise in store for me by the end! I was not anticipating all of the reveal, nor the explanation behind it, and I'm really eager to explore this thread more in Spirit. Just like we saw in Storm, Spark is full of blazing emotion, pulse-pounding action and addictive mystery. Every chapter is so INTENSE and it's impossible to pull away, to not pay attention to a single sentence lest you miss a loaded gaze or clue that holds deeper meaning.

Brigid Kemmerer has injected something special into the YA world. She's given us a family of characters (whether by blood, love or friendship) that are so dynamic, so full of energy, that you're wishing you could know them in real life. And for every new chapter of their story, you fall deeper and deeper under their spell. Spark proves that Brigid is an author here for the long run. Storm was not a one-time hit, but just the beginning of a thrilling series that will still be sending us on a dizzying rollercoaster for years to come!


5/5 Golden Apples!!

Bloggers: did you know you can request SPARK from Netgalley?! Meaning you could be reading a digital copy of it (and getting your steam on with Gabriel Merrick) RIGHT NOW!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rapture Blog Tour: Interview with Lauren Kate!

The blogosphere is dark with wings...

Internationally best-selling author, Lauren Kate, is spreading her wings across Australian blogs throughout the month to promote her newest release, RAPTURE, the final installment in the FALLEN series! Rapture concludes Luce and Daniel's epic love story that has literally spanned the ages. I'm so excited to welcome Lauren here today to answer a few questions. Huge thanks to Random House Australia and the lovely author herself for the opportunity to probe her brains!

Rapture is beautiful conclusion to the series and one that is sure to spring a few tears to the eyes of fans! Be sure to grab your copy in stores NOW!

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Q: From 2009 to 2012 - 4 years, 4 books and thousands of fans later... did you ever anticipate the series would be this big? What is the one thing you will take away from the experience?

Lauren: The success of the Fallen series isn’t something I’ve gotten used to, but I have learned how best to cherish my readers’ enthusiasm, how to funnel the support I feel from around the world directly into my books. I come away from the series with the sense that my readers are my guardian angels. I feel very supported as I moved into my next writing project.

Q: Which scene, from any of the books, are you most looking forward to seeing in the movies?

Lauren: I’m really looking forward to seeing the first time Luce cleaves to her past self at the royal ball in Versailles.

Q: This is clearly Luce and Daniel's story, but Cam also has a strong fanbase behind him. Were you anticipating such a positive and vocal reaction towards his character?

Lauren: I guess I should have known. Cam is based on my husband, so I was in love with him from the start of the series. Because I care for him so much, his character arc and his backstory became far more complex than I’d expected. He began to steal the show at times and I’m still not sure his tale is complete. I love meeting readers who’ve fallen for Cam. I’m like, “I know. I know.”

Q: None of the characters are inherently good or evil (well, Bill is another story... but there's no denying he has charm!). They all come in fascinating shades of grey, especially Cam. Was that something you purposefully set out to explore or did it develop naturally?

Lauren: I realized that this was a theme I was exploring when I finished the first book. It’s not just that the lines are blurry between good and evil, but that good and evil rely on each other, cannot exist without each other. They are two sides of the same coin. This idea goes back to Zoroastrianism and is at the center of the Judeo-Christian tradition. I wanted to place Luce—who is rather pure and open at the start of the series—in the center of the maelstrom of characters who were classified as one thing or the other but who, in reality, fell into an array of shades on the good-evil spectrum. She’s a great lens through which to see the futility of these classifications. As she recognizes this futility, she’s empowered to grow into the soul she’s on her way to becoming.

Q: Let's pretend you're in Luce's shoes and you've been cursed to live through thousands of lives. You're now finally in a position where you're not going to spontaneously burst into flames the moment you encounter your beloved (the fire department thanks you for your cooperation). Where and when (any era, any place) would you like to live out the rest of your days with your long-suffering soulmate?

Lauren: This is a lovely question and I suppose it’s strange to say “right here right now,” but this is where I hope to live out the rest of my days with my long-suffering soul mate. The place and time I’d most like to visit would be first century Jerusalem around the time of Jesus. I’m eager to know whether there was electricity in air, whether everyone knew what was happening, what they sensed their moment meant.

Thank you so much for sharing your fabulous answers with us today, Lauren!!

Check out the other stops on the tour!
12th June:
13th June:
14th June:
15th June:
18th June:
19th June:
20th June:
21st June:
22nd June:

Find Lauren & her books at:


Watch the Rapture book trailer!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Owl Post #6

 
Inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox, Owl Post allows me to excitedly share all the yummy books I get in the mail each week! Owl's are much faster and more reliable than sneaky postmen, and the common way for magical folk to send and receive letters and parcels. Yes. I went to Hogwarts. Be jealous.

Anyone who has read my review knows my thoughts already, but just in case I didn't get my point  across.... ADRIANADRIANADRIANADRIANADRIAN!

Regardless of whether I like the story or not, I LOVE the book for the stunning presentation! I flicked through and in addition to some pretty coloured text, there are GORGEOUS illustrations that give this book such a fairy tale feel. I can't wait to read it!

 How creepy good does this sound?? I've read some great reviews that say how addictive it is, with lots of surprising twists, which BRODIE LOVES.

I haven't read the first book, but this actually looks pretty cool, so I might end up checking out the series. I don't read many (if any) MG books but sometimes you just feel like something DIFFERENT to the usual YA, so I'd like to give them a try. 

I've heard some great things about this and when Mimi ranks it among her top 6 books of 2012, it's hard for me to NOT get excited! I really hope it lives up to expectations because I need a new wolfy novel to obsess over.

I wasn't aware this was a sequel, so I'll have to grab the first book before I can read this. Has anyone read Spoiled? They aren't my usual kind of reads, but as I said above, sometimes different is good!

I hear a LOT of love for Sarah's Demon Lexicon series, so her name attached to this already makes me excited, even if I've yet to read any of her books. Plus it just sounds like a FUN vampy read!

Also, just quickly slipping in some winners for the Dead Actually giveaway! Congrats! I'll be emailing you three shortly :)
Pamela R.
Teresa L.
Shelleyrae.

What did the owls deliver to you this week? 
Is anyone else not receiving their subscription to The Quibbler? I'm starting to think the Aurors have taken Mr. Lovegood hostage because he's the wikileaks of the wizarding world. The Rotfang Conspiracy IS potential cause for muggle Apocalyptic concern, people.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Review: The Golden Lily

Author: Richelle Mead
Release Date: OUT NOW!!
Publisher: Penguin
Add or Buy: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depostiory
The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff series

Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students--children of the wealthy and powerful--carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.

Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. Adrian. 
5/5 Golden Apples!

Oh, fine. You want more? Well, don't blame me if my Sydrian Gushing button gets stuck ON! (this is actually a shortened review, so... erm...)

The Golden Lily begins with a quietly menacing chapter that, on reflection, is quite a fitting start given where it feels Sydney is headed (hopefully not there, but she's in a dangerous position). Picking up a month after the events of Bloodlines, Dimitri and Sonya are now in Palm Springs, having formed a trio laced with tension alongside Adrian as they test their experiments. Angeline is struggling to fit into a civilised society (but I SO love her antics), Jill is discovering the pains of being a vampire trying to exist beside humans and Eddie - sweet, dedicated warrior - is hiding his true feelings because he feels inadequate. Sigh. Nothing is ever easy for these guys, but I love every minute of their angst.

Sydney Sage is adorable. She may be bounds above her peers on an intellectual level, but when it comes to the rules of dating, she really has no idea. It's such an endearing quality and makes for some amusing scenes... especially given the new, equally smart, equally socially awkward guy in her life. Who is not Adrian Ivashkov, but I couldn't bring myself to view him as a potential threat because I have an iron-clad belief that no woman alive can resist Adrian's charm (Rose? What? Shut up. I don't know what you're talking about. This book features a lily). I quite liked the contrast of these two different relationships in her life. And I've gotta say... Brayden? He was kind of hilarious in the moment right before.. THAT moment!

Sydney has made a clear transformation since we first met her in Blood Promise. Alchemist, she may be, but believer in the cause? Well, that's where the cracks begin to show. She's opening herself up to things she would never have dreamed of doing and becoming friendly with the strictly forbidden. We catch a glimpse of what the Alchemists will do to those who show the slightest hint of favour toward the vampires and it's a scary thing. I worry about Sydney's future, because I stupidly want her to acknowledge what she feels deep down and stick it to the Alchemists (and get nakey with Adrian), but she's walking a line that if crossed, could have terrifying consequences.

Adrian Ivashkov. I can't believe Richelle turned him into a murderer.... of my sanity, that is. There are not enough words in the English, Swedish or Plutonean language to describe my love for this guy. He stole my heart in 2009 and that beautiful bastard has kept it ever since! As usual, we're treated to his ever entertaining wit and charm, but Richelle digs deeper and deeper and once again explores his inner demons. I wanted to envelope him in the biggest hug so many times. His parents prove to be a very sore spot and I'm really hoping someone breaks his father's nose. I'm HAPPY to do the honours. It's thanks to Sydney that we see him open up more. Not even with Rose did he allow himself to be this candid; to trust another with his fears and vulnerabilities. I love that there is finally someone in his life willing to put their faith in him, to stand up for him, and he shows to be the same support for her. HE DESERVES TO BE HAPPY, DAMNIT.

I love the dance between these two - even if Sydney is barely even aware of it, coming from either herself or Adrian. She can be so adorably oblivious! Much of what she does is done unconsciously, but I think that's what made me love it even more, because her actions and feelings were more honest, genuine. Even if she can't see what they truly mean, the reader can. Every moment between them had me with my fist to my mouth, covering an impossibly large grin and trying, without success, to soften the ridiculous noises squawking out of me. They are equal to my love of Rose and Dimitri and it's only the second book in the series! It also needs to be noted that Protector Adrian; the fierce, sweet hero ready to defend Sydney's honor is probably the greatest thing since Poet Adrian, Mustang Adrian and Jet Steele Adrian.

While I guessed the mystery early on and I was hoping for just a teensy bit more action, I wouldn't even think to deduct half a star for these. Because neither could chisel the smile from my face or glue back the cracks in my heart by the end. New and exciting threats are introduced, magic is explored, the swoon levels are set to EXTREME and regardless of whether you think yourself a shipper of Sydney and Adrian, you damn well will be when you read this. Otherwise I will disown you. I'm not even kidding. The Golden Lily is yet another stunning and compulsively readable (as in: don't expect to put it down until you're finished) installment from an author worthy of her bestseller title. The final chapter damaged my heart; it was floating on a puffy cloud in heaven and before it could thud another beat, SOMEONE DRAGGED IT DOWN TO HELL. So I went back to reread the same chapter again, because even though I knew it would hurt, the high before the fall is so f**king worth it!!!

5/5 Golden Apples!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June Book Hype

Things have been a little quiet here this week, purely due to an evil demon we shall refer to as Procrastination. It also goes under the disguise of Sir. Lazylots. I've been terrible and haven't written any reviews or done anything at all, BUT. I've been reading, at least! So I'll have some reviews for you soon (one featuring a heart-stopping, green-eyed Moroi tomorrow, if I stop watching Nikita fanvids on youtube and write it).

Since I have nothing for you, I thought I'd feature some other fabulous reviewers! The following are just six of the June releases that I am ridiculously excited about and if you're not already, READ ON. BE SWAYED. GIVE INTO AFOREMENTIONED FABULOUS REVIEWERS COMPULSION. I hope they don't mind me quoting them, I did link back to their blogs and reviews for you all to check out!
_____

 The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

Jo from Once Upon A Bookcase says: "THE ENDING! Oh. My. WORD! How anyone is going to be able to coherently talk about the end is beyond me. All I feel like saying is, "DIKARHGKHFDGAJKYUG!!!!!!" - read her review.

Brodie from You're Reading Her Blog says: "DIKARHGKHFDGAJKYUG!!!!!!" - you can read her gushy review tomorrow.

For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Anna from Literary Exploration says: "I'm still reeling from the emotional turmoil that For Darkness Shows the Stars put me through. Peterfreund had me laughing, crying, and screaming over the course of 400 pages." - read her review

Aylee from Recovering Potter Addict says: "For Darkness Shows the Stars is a beautiful and engrossing novel and a definite must read. The originality of the futuristic, dystopian world that read more like a historical fiction novel of Jane Austen's time and the strength and goodness of the story's protagonist made For Darkness Shows the Stars a stand-out read." - read her review.


Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson

Dark Faerie Tales says: "Just when you think you’ve got the plot pegged or a character, Knutsson surprises you with a twist and changes your expectations. For someone who reads a lot of young adult and can usually guess the rest of a story, it’s a refreshing change. This story crosses the boundaries of fantasy and science fiction, creating a dystopian with an alluring back story that keeps tension high and the pages turning." - read her review.


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (titled The Gathering Dark in UK/AUS)

Sam from Realm of Fiction says: "The pacing is superb, the climax is faultless, and the immaculate blend of fantasy, action and romance really did make this book ‘unputdownable’."- read her review.

Sonia from The Story Queen says: "I LOVE it when a book can make me feel something so strongly and then just flip it all inside out and have me totally reconsider. It hasn't happened in a while but with Shadow and Bone? Definitely. The plot of this book just keeps on rolling and what begins as a seemingly ordinary journey soon develops into a fast-paced thrill ride." - read her review.


My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Becca from Reading Wishes says: "Huntley Fitzpatrick has written a splendid debut, full of charm, wit and originality. If you’re looking for a beautiful contemporary story with a sweet, charming romance and believable characters, look no further because My Life Next Door has it all!" - read her review.


Tamlyn (Silvermay #2) by James Moloney
Add or Buy: Goodreads | Amazon | Fishpond

Kerrie from Two Girls And A Novel says: "I think one of the things I loved about this series is that it does transport you to that era where women are not seen as equals, and yet Silvermay is such a strong female character. She willingly goes on dangerous quests and is willing to fight and die for the people she loves. I don’t think there is anything better then reading about strong women like Silvermay." - read her review.


What June releases would you be willing to run naked to the bookstore for? Or at least in your pyjama's the morning of release ;)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Owl Post #5

 
Inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox, Owl Post allows me to excitedly share all the yummy books I get in the mail each week! Owl's are much faster and more reliable than sneaky postmen, and the common way for magical folk to send and receive letters and parcels. Yes. I went to Hogwarts. Be jealous.


SPARKSPARKSPARKSPARKSPARK! Massive, gushing thanks to Brigid for sending me these. I LOVE THAT WOMAN. She was super nice and signed a copy to me <3 The other is being sent around to some awesome Aussies. Did you know Spark is available to request on NetGalley?! Go, go, go!!! If you're Aussie and can't read from NG, shoot me an email and I'll get the others to send the ARC to you once they read it. I finished this the other day and freaking LOVE. My review will be up next week, but oh Gabriel Merrick; he made me swoon and broke my heart. Repeatedly. Every chapter. If you don't already have this book preordered, GO DO IT NOW.

And while you're at it, grab Stormdancer! I posted my review of this amazing novel yesterday. Steampunk, fantasy, Japanese culture + mythology, creepy villain, incredible heroine and A THUNDER TIGER NAMED BURUU. What is not to love?

I started Unravelling today. I only read a teeny tiny bit, but I am EXCITED to dig in properly!! I have yet to read a single negative review. Shadows is by an Aussie author (yay!) and features some angel/demon action, something I always love. The heroine kills demons and other hell-spawn every night in her dreams. Sound badass or what?? Hopefully will get to this soon!

Struck has been on my radar since forever. The heroine is a LIGHTENING ADDICT. That's insane, but so freaking cool. I put The Shadow Reader on hold at my library ages ago and naturally it comes in when my TBR is toppling. I have no idea if I'll get to read this before it gets returned, but I hope so because I've heard great things about it. Any of you guys read it?

What did the owls deliver to you this freezing cold week?
Who else is excited for The Golden Lily's release next week?!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Review: Stormdancer

Author: Jay Kristoff
Release Date: Aug 21st AU | Sept 1st US | Sept 18th UK
Publisher: Pan Macmillan AU | St. Martins Press US | Tor UK
Add it: Goodreads
Preorder: Amazon | Book Depository
A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium is verging on the brink of environmental collapse; decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshippers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, land choked with toxic pollution, wildlife ravaged by mass extinctions.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
The hunters of the imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger—a legendary beast, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows thunder tigers have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a hidden gift that would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

Stormdancer has already been making waves across the blogosphere and it's easy to see why. Two drool-worthy covers and a synopsis that promises one hell of an exciting ride... there's clearly a lot of expectation to live up to. But if you're doubting for a second whether Jay Kristoff can pull it off, I think my newly acquired chainkatana is begging for some friendly one-on-one time with your neck. Stormdancer lived up to the hype AND THEN SOME. After Braiden bashed us with his love on his blog and twitter and facebook and goodreads and alarmed the neighbours by worshipping the book gods from his front lawn (the last part may be a slight exaggeration), I knew to expect something EPIC. And epic, dangerous, imaginative and heartwarming is exactly what I got.

Yukiko is an amazing heroine. Wise for her age, you'll find it hard not to fall in love with her spirit, kindness and determination right from the beginning. But as impossible as it is to believe, she grows into an even braver, more admirable young woman by novels end. Her mistakes and vulnerabilities make her all the more relatable and strong, for she doesn't define herself by what she does wrong. She rises above and keeps on fighting. She's earned herself a throne right next to some of my favourite leading ladies. Every character shines in Stormdancer; I loved Akihito, Kasumi and Kin, not to mention Masaru, Yukiko's father; their relationship so brilliantly layered and sure to rip at your heartstrings.

It goes without saying that every aspect of Stormdancer is breathtaking, but I'd be lying if I said I loved it all equally. There is one relationship that consumed me throughout the book. Romance be damned, the newest trend we'll all be talking about when the apocalypse hits? HUMAN/THUNDER-TIGER RELATIONS. Not the weird sexual kind, but that touching, soul-deep connection between human and animal. Yukiko and Buruu form an unexpected bond that is nothing short of beautiful to see unfold. The subtle changes in them both as they grow closer, the fierce sense of loyalty and understanding; the trust and playful affection. And when they fight together? There you'll find the art in battle.

It's impossible to leave this book unaffected by their journey and if you do, you either have no heart or your name is Yoritomo (which are pretty much the same thing). Yoritomo takes the crown for best villain of the year. I'm quite a loving creature of the earth in real life (I am), but he's the kind of cruel bastard you want to reach through the pages and slowly drain the life from. He is ruthless and cares for nothing more than his own desires and petty pride. He's not an idiot either, which is never a good combination for one with an high aptitude for evil.

The worldbuilding is amazing; equal parts fascinating, repulsive and beautiful. The mythology itself is a thing to be revered, as is the brilliant mix of STEAMPUNK and JAPAN (I know you're drooling). But the damaging effects the blood lotus trade has had on Shima is heartbreaking to witness. We see the natural beauty that still exists in some parts of the region, and when you compare that with the cities polluted by chi - suffocating air, red skies and a dying environment - it's no wonder there are many enraged to the point of rebellion.

Jay doesn't load everything on you at once; not the worldbuilding or the true heart of characters. He takes his time to give you such a well-rounded perception of the magnificent life he's so lovingly set word to. He cleverly punches a hole in your heart and pushes every inch of his story into it. So when his characters hurt, you hurt. When they laugh, you laugh. Stormdancer exceeds on it's every promise and delivers something truly spectacular; Japanese culture like you're never imagined before, action and politics that keep you poised to the edge of your seat, and Yukiko and Buruu; a duo you're forever cheering to dominate the skies of literature.

5/5 Golden Apples!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Giveaway: Dead Actually + eyeshadow kit (3 to win!)

 
Author: Kaz Delaney
Release Date: March 2012
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Fishpond | Amazon | Booktopia
Willow's having a bad week. A dead body, a funeral and now she's being haunted by the star of it all, the dead queen of Ruth Throsby High herself, JoJo Grayson.

Being dead hasn't made JoJo any nicer. She's still venomous and vacuous and, unfortunately, determined to stick around unless Willow finds out what happened.

But the mysteries keep multiplying. There's a missing phone. An anonymous blackmailer. Dirty secrets that won't stay buried. And the blame is being cleverly pointed right at Willow.

The only good thing? The gorgeous Seth Pentecost. He's got his own agenda but it looks like he's going to help Willow out. Could JoJo's death be what it takes to finally bring Seth into Willow's life?

Thanks to the amazing team at Allen & Unwin and the wonderful Kaz Delaney, you crazy awesome readers have the chance to win 1 of 3 prize packs to celebrate the recent release of Kat's YA novel, DEAD, ACTUALLY! Kaz has offered 3 of the below eyeshadow kits and Allen & Unwin are providing each winner with their very own copy of DEAD, ACTUALLY!


Rules:
Open to: Australia only
Ends: Thursday 14th June 2012
Prize: 3 winners each receive ONE copy of Dead, Actually + ONE eyeshadow kit

May the odds be ever in your favour!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Review: Rapture

Author: Lauren Kate
Release Date: June 12th 2012
Publisher: Random House
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Book Depository
The sky is dark with wings...

And time is running out for Luce and Daniel.

In order to stop Lucifer from erasing the past, they must find the place where the Fall began.
Only Luce can break the curse, and it is her choice alone that will decide all their fates.

But as Dark Forces gather, great sacrifices will be made in this final epic stuggle…

In the fight for Luce, and for love, who will win?

Every book in this series has offered something different in terms of setting, knowledge, characters and purpose. They each have distinct feel and Rapture proves no different. We're introduced to new people, rekindle with the old and shine a new light onto those we thought we had all figured out. Most everyone on Team Anti-Lucifer groups together at the start of the book to plan their mission for stopping the Fall. They then all branch out in groups to search for certain objects that will help in their mission to stop ol' Lucifer from striking down on earth and erasing history as we know it. There's plenty of danger, action and unfortunate deaths along the way; but when you're facing the devil himself, you'd expect nothing less.

Despite the dire situation they're in and with such little time to complete it, Rapture still offers Luce and Daniel plenty of time to bond, which fans of their ill-fated love will savour every minute of. We see more shared scenes between them than I think we have in any previous book, save for Passion. But where Passion journeyed their past lives; Rapture shows us their love in the present. I think they've both grown to learn that given the lives they've lead, no moment shared together should be taken for granted. It was nice to see them together as a couple, taking small joy in their love, especially given they stand a 50/50 chance of failing their mission.

I have really been tainted when it comes to finale books, because for nearly every series that offers a hint of paranormal, I always anticipate an epic battle akin to what we saw in Deathly Hallows. I'm working on accepting that not every book is written for that kind of war, and Rapture is one of them. Lauren did not disappoint in what she offered: Knowledge. Everything we've been waiting for is finally laid out in the open; how Luce and Daniel fell in love and what sparked their terrible curse, both of which provided a few extra spicy twists. One I suspected throughout the book, although I couldn't be 100% certain of, and another which definitely took me by surprise!

I was also quite surprised by my emotions when closing the book! Obviously I like these books, but I've never really felt an intense emotional connection to Luce and Daniel. I've always been interested in seeing how their story progressed, but it's the secondary characters like Cam, Arriane, Miles and even Bill who captured my attention more. Come time for epilogue, however? Yes, there were a few tears. I'm not ashamed to admit it! How Lauren concluded Luce and Daniel's story was really quite beautiful. The kind of ending that had me smiling through glassy eyes; happy, but an undeniable ache in my heart. These are the kind of endings I enjoy best. The ones which acknowledge that in order to gain your happily ever after, there must be sacrifice along the way.

Any fan of this series will be satisfied in devouring the secrets that have been tantalisingly held over our heads since Fallen. It played out really well and we even see an appearance from the almighty God! Rapture is a fitting conclusion to the series and offered a taste of everything we've experienced in previous books; love, betrayal, surprising revelations, murder and consequence. But facing these trials is not the same Luce we met in Fallen. She's a little wiser, a little stronger and while she's never going to be that ass-kicking kind of heroine, she's the girl in all of us who just longs for a happy ending and will fight for her right to have one. Will she succeed in the way she hopes? I guess you'll have the read the book to find out :)

4/5 Golden Apples!
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