Saturday, February 26, 2011

Interview & Giveaway with Aimée Carter

I'm thrilled to present to you an interview with one of my new favourite authors, Aimée Carter. You can read my review on her upcoming novel, THE GODDESS TEST and because you like what you see, I'm giving you the chance to win a pre-order!

What sparked the idea to write The Goddess Test?
I'd had the basic idea for The Goddess Test in the back of my mind for years, and I'm not sure what really sparked the idea. It's been through so many versions, particularly in the outline stage. But nothing ever quite snapped into place until the idea of her mother dying came to me, and from then on out, everything flowed. I'm not entirely sure where that idea came from. I kept pushing myself for better conflict, a better story, and eventually in the process of brainstorming, it showed up.

Which character did you enjoy writing the most?
Oh man. I enjoyed writing all of them for different reasons. If I didn't enjoy writing them, I can't imagine asking a reader to enjoy reading about them, after all. But I'd say my favorite was probably Henry. I loved exploring his backstory and finding out why he was in this position to begin with, and he had a certain depth that really struck a chord with me while I was writing it.

Have you always been interested in greek mythology?  
Always! For as long as I can remember, I've loved Greek mythology. On the Roman vs. Greek battlefront, I am firmly on the side of the Greeks. I read and reread D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, devoured computer games, other mythology books, TV shows like Hercules and Xena. Anything and everything Greek mythology, I was there. Some of my favorite myths include, of course, the myth of Hades and Persephone, though it was Demeter's struggle that grabbed me, and I always thought Persephone was a bit dim for eating those seeds. And as I grew older, I started to feel sorry for Hades - how lonely must he have been to kidnap someone to marry him? Another favorite of mine was Orpheus, who goes into the Underworld pleading for his wife back, only to lose her all over again.

The buzz surrounding your novel is already mounting - are you prepared to deal with the public lust coming your way or are you freaking-the-hell out? 
I am freaking-the-hell-out times infinity, but trying very hard to hide it, at least in person. All I really want is for people to give the book a chance - I know not everyone will like it, and while it's hard having something you've worked on so hard and for so long bashed or belittled, at least those people gave it a chance. I'm eternally grateful to everyone who picks up the book, no matter their feelings on it.

What was your reaction when you were first told you were going to be published?  
I was in a shopping mall, actually, so I couldn't go crazy. I think 'stunned disbelief' pretty much covers it, and I've had a few moments in my quest for publication (when I was much younger, not when it came to getting The Goddess Test published) where a carrot was dangled in front of me, only to have it snatched back again, so I didn't let it sink in for a long time. And by the time I signed the contract and let myself believe this was going to happen, my family was going through some tough times, so I didn't have the energy to really express my happiness. Though it was there, trust me. Every day I wake up amazed and grateful that someone was willing to take a chance on me and my book.

If you could be any Greek God/Goddess for the day, who would it be? 
Interesting question! My first reaction is to go with a goddess, but if gender didn't matter, I think I'd want to be Hades. Or Persephone, but not for the reasons you might be thinking - I'd want to go down into the Underworld to see the people I've lost in my life and have the chance to say goodbye, much like Kate.

Do you have any fun behind-the-scenes facts to share? (scenes that didn't make the cut, inspirations for particular scenes, funny stories about something that happened while writing, etc) 
As a matter of fact, I do! I read Twilight for the first time while I was in the middle of writing and revising The Goddess Test, and I panicked, because my character moved to a small town in the middle of nowhere, was the new girl at school, talked to a redheaded secretary wearing purple, and - drum roll, please - her name was Becca. It's funny now, and I joke that I was psychic and secretly tapping into Stephenie Meyer's mind, but at the time, it was horrifying. Anyone who read those first drafts would undoubtedly think I was ripping off Twilight when in reality, I'd never read it. But long story short, Becca's named changed to Kate, I did some editing to remove as many similarities as I could, and all in all, I'm very happy with the story now.

In a our own real-life dystopian future where books are banned *horror*, which three books would you risk your freedom to save? 
Do series count? Above all else, I'd save the Harry Potter series. If that only counted as one, I'd go for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare as my second and a big, fat philosophy book for the third. You can never have too much Aristotle.

Because I know you're a huge fan of the Harry Potter series (for which you totally have Dumbledore's afterlife nod of approval), which is your favourite book in the series? 
The Prisoner of Azkaban, hands-down. I love them all and have read the first six multiple times (and in the case of the first four, I read them over and over again for several years in middle and high school), but the third book is where the adults' story really begins, and to me that's the most fascinating part of the series. Love Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but I am a die-hard Marauders fan.

Thank you SO much for your time Aimee!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading her answers :D
Follow Aimee:
The Goddess Test will be released April 19th 2011 by Harlequin Teen. Make sure you grab a copy! Or may the gods smite your sweet backside.

However if you'd like win a pre-order copy, here's your chance!
I'll end the giveaway on March 19th, one month before release. But you'll have to wait until it's released for The Book Depository to ship it, I'm afraid!

Extra entries for following, linking or commenting on this post.
Ends March 19.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: The Goddess Test

Author: Aimée Carter
Release Date: April 19th 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Every girl who has taken the test has died.

Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

If she fails...

I was worried about beginning this because I'd chatted with Aimee a few times beforehand and she is so incredibly sweet and friendly. While I was super excited to read it, I was kind of freaking out incase I didn't love it and then be burdened with writing a sucky review and crushing the poor girls heart. *dramatic sigh* However my conscience was saved, my doubts were pointless. POINTLESS, I tell you!

I greedily devoured every page of The Goddess Test - it's a delicious banquet that slyly lures you in at first bite and you can't stop until you've consumed the entire thing. And despite having your fill, you're licking your lips for more. I want my dessert. Book two, come hither! I have been awaiting a Young Adult novel where the greek gods blossom to life in a modern, fantastical world I can get lost in and that's exactly what she has delivered.

Where do I start?! I'll begin with our heroine, 18 year old Kate Winters. She was a character who I really admired. She possessed such great strength and a maturity gained from the years she spent looking after her dying mother. She dealt with each hurdle thrown her way admirably, considering the stress she was under. She never resolved into a moping, brooding, 'woe is me' mess. She had a kindness and fire within her that pushed her forward. It's not every day the God of the Underworld just waltzes into your life and presents you with such a tempting offer.... I'd totally freak out. Despite how gorgeous he looked! Actually that would probably increase the freak-out complete with a chronic case of le blushes.

I loved Aimee's interpretation of Hades (aka Henry). Loved, loved, loved! It's so nice to see him thrust into a more positive light, rather than doom-and-gloom ruler of the Underworld. She captured his struggles, vulnerabilities and personality perfectly and I found myself wishing, oh so wishing, for Henry to have a happy ending!

A lot of people have commented on the lack of parental influence in YA novels. So the bond between Kate and her mother was a refreshing change. There was so much love there, it was really nice to see a teenage girl who cares so much about her mother and not ashamed to show it. She's all Kate has, her very best friend and after all that time Kate spent caring for her, not once did she complain or remiss about what she's missed out on. 

All the while reading this I was keeping note of every single character who came into the story because I was determined to figure out if there were any gods hiding in disguise. And there were a few I guessed! *fist pumps* I even wrote down the page number where I had my "AH-HA!" moment on one character, who I guessed their identity, but had their motives completely wrong. It's still a half victory! All the secondary characters were fantastic and leapt from the pages just as much as Kate and Henry did. I was particularly fond of James and Ava! <3

The ending was a perfect conclusion, everything came to a close complete with a few twists, revelations and lies thrown into the mix and gratefully didn't end on a major cliffhanger, but still leaves you incredibly eager to find out what happens next! Aimee has crafted a beautifully written story and has begun what I'm sure will be a new and exciting trend of Greek mythology in YA fiction. Fans of mythology will especially love this, but even if you don't know your Hades from your Poseidon, The Goddess Test will enthral you. Delight you. Surprise you. Whisk you away to a godly new world!

Rating: 5/5

Stay tuned tomorrow for an interview with Aimée
and the following day for your chance to win a pre-order of The Goddess Test!

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday

Both Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday are weekly features where their respective hosts post a fun question for other readers to answer on their blogs. Then everyone goes blog hopping around the blogosphere to make new friends and discover new blogs. So don't be a Lonely Lucy, hop on over to Friendly Fernando's blog and share your love of reading together!

 Follow Friday is hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View

This week's question:

Share your current fav television show! Tell us a bit about it...

I have quite a few! Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Kyle XY, Smallville, Glee.... but I'll tell you why I love Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries.

I've been a fan of Supernatural since the show first began. While the latest season isn't my favourite of them all, I still love it. Two hot brothers tangled up in a whole complicated mess between heaven, hell and everything in between. They hunt monsters, demons, ghosts, vampires, shapeshifters and even Cupid himself at one stage. Every possible supernatural thing you can imagine. In style of course - riding a shiny black impala! It's funny, serious, action-packed, intense, an awesome show with great characters and most importantly, an incredibly strong brotherly love between Sam and Dean <3 And I love Castiel (he's an angel) too!

And of course, The Vampire Diaries. Silly me only watched the first few episodes of season one and then stopped. But I got hooked again when season two started and rush to catch up. I love the mythology in the show and to be honest, I'm not really Team Stefan or Damon. I don't watch to oggle the guys (although I love Damon's personality), I love all the action and intensity and twists - vampires, witches, werewolves and doppleganger's. I gotta say, I kinda love Katherine too!

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books 

This week's question:
Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?

Not at all! Granted, I've only been blogging for a few months, but I like the name. It's from Greek Mythology and I think is a neat way to describe the mystical journey of reading!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quest for the Hallows

Join the Quest for the Hallows, a global, online adventure offering exclusive photos, video content, and the chance to win amazing prizes throughout the year in celebration of the Harry Potter film phenomenon!

Not book related, but close enough! If you're a fan of the Harry Potter series then I highly recommend you go sign up to be apart of Quest for the Hallows. But make sure you select your country in the top left hand corner before you enter your email address.

Considering Deathly Hallows: Part 1 will be released on dvd on April 15th and Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - the final ever potter movie *sob* -  is storming cinema's on July 15, I have a feeling they may go all out with this campaign. Here's to hoping, anyway! I'm excited to see what they have planned throughout the year! Make sure you sign up and check back on March 1st!

Also, totally in the hard rumour category, but I've been hearing there may possibly be a trailer released on March 11th for Part 2. Apparently the source is reputable, so I FREAKING HOPE IT'S TRUE!!! *fangirl squee*

Anyone else counting down the days until we can see the finale of this incredible series?

Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: Already on shelves
Publisher: Penguin

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

I heard about this book continuously. I lusted for it hopelessly. I fell for it the minute Anna made a Hogwarts reference.

Anna Oliphant is loving her American life when her novelist-father ships her off to a boarding school in Paris. Anna is not happy.  Girl can't even speak a word of French! She's devastated to be leaving behind her friends and almost-boyfriend, Toph. Not to mention her little brother, Seany, who she adores. But it doesn't take long for Anna to settle into life in Paris after befriending her dorm-neighbour, Meredith and Mer's friends. Rashmi, Josh... and Etienne St. Clair. Oh St. Clair! *and girls across the world swoon in his wake*

Anna is one of those girls. He's gorgeous, 3 inches shorter than her, he wears a knit-cap, is afraid of heights, is oh so funny and charming and sweet and flawed and he has an English accent. American boy with an English accent living in France.  We girls are such suckers for accents, aren't we? What hands down, made this novel was the CHEMISTRY! Anna and St. Clair's chemistry could generate enough power for France to survive off for two years and still have reserves to power-up the US and UK if a race of alien's ever attacked and cut off the world's power supply so they can ruin our lives without tv or internet (but at least we'll still have books. take that your green-brained suckers!). Every encounter they had, every look, every touch, every heated moment or laugh or cry or drunken outburst had me glued to the pages, not being able to turn them fast enough to see what happens next.

They know they can't be together - St. Clair has a girlfriend and Meredith is not-so-secretly in love with him, which Anna does not want to ruin things with her new friend. But love doesn't listen to excuses and pleas of "No Cupid, sir, please shove your arrows up your ----", if people are meant to be then love isn't going to make it easy for them to resist. We see the transition from "OMG HOT GUY! Listen to the accent!" to crush to deep-best-friend-relationship to "Holy crap, I'm in love with him". I love how it progressed. Love wasn't instantaneous. Sure, lust was. But you could SEE the love growing over the course of the year.

St. Clair and Ellie's relationship was kind of on the rocks and while I do not condone any kind of cheating, whether it's physical or emotional, you can understand Etienne's reasons for maybe dragging out the part where he finally breaks it off. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes and sometimes we cling onto things out of fear or comfort. His reasons are explained, even if in theory he should have broken it off the moment he realised he was falling for Anna. Or buying her a book of love poetry for school.

Oh gosh. I love this book so much. I love romances in fiction and even though I stupidly don't read as much contemporary as I do paranormal/dystopian, I adore these kind of books.  I absolutely loved Anna. She's so funny and neurotic and flawed and hang on a minute... am I crushing on Anna or St. Clair?? *puzzled look* Oh fine, maybe both! I'm actually surprised I managed to write a review. It took me a while to form a legitimate sentence that didn't involve "EEE! Hehe! St. Clair! Squee! Anna! French! kiss kissy kiss *swoon* OMG! Love!" Hmm. Not as engaging to read!

I can't express how much I loved this. Anna and the French Kiss will have you grinning from ear to ear, laughing out loud, sighing, swooning, wishing, hoping, loving loving loving every minute of it. Funny and beautifully written, Stephanie Perkins is officially an 'instant buy' author. I don't care if her next book is about a starcrossed love between a turtle and a lion who is battling his animal instincts to eat the love-of-his-life, she could pull it off with bells on.

Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday

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

Author: Lauren McLaughlin
Release Date: October 25 2011
Publisher: Random House
Set in the future when teenagers are monitored via camera and their recorded actions and confessions plugged into a computer program that determines their ability to succeed. All kids given a "score" that determines their future potential. This score has the ability to get kids into colleges, grant scholarships, or destroy all hope for the above. Scored's reluctant heroine is Imani, a girl whose high score is brought down when her best friend's score plummets. Where do you draw the line between doing what feels morally right and what can mean your future? Friendship, romance, loyalty, family, human connection and human value: all are questioned in this fresh and compelling dystopian novel set in the scarily forseeable future.

Author: Gretchen McNeil
Release Date: August 23 2011
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her overprotective mom, by the hunky son of the police officer who got her father killed, and by the eerie voices which she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Turns out the voices are demons--the Biblical kind, not the Buffy kind--and Bridget possesses the rare ability to banish them.

San Francisco's senior exorcist and his newly assigned partner from the Vatican enlist Bridget's help with increasingly bizarre and dangerous cases of demonic possession. But when one of Bridget's oldest friends turns up dead in a ritualistic sacrifice that mirrors her father's murder, Bridget realizes she can't trust anyone. An interview with her father's murderer reveals a link between Bridget and the Emim: a race of part-demons intent on raising their forefathers to the earth in human form. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the Emim's plan before someone else close to her winds up dead, or worse--the human vessel for a Demon King.

The cover for Possess was released yesterday and wow, how awesome does that look? Very excited for both these books, they sound fantastic!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review: Darkest Mercy

Author: Melissa Marr
Release Date: February 22nd 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Thanks to: Harper Collins Aus for providing me with an ARC to review!

The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.

Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.

Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.
The thrilling conclusion to Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless.

There may be some spoilers if you haven't read the other novels in the Wicked Lovely series. That being said - go do so now! Melissa Marr has created a thoroughly engaging world of faerie that sucks the reader into a fantastical world of darkness, frivolity, passion, order and cool calm.  I love what each Court has to offer and the way Marr brings the emotions and characteristics of these faeries to life. You can't help but fall in love with them all even if some can be insanely annoying (*cough*Keenan-just-leave-the-Aislinn-issue-alone-already-and-find-a-way-to-be-with-Donia!*cough*) - okay, so that situation is a little more complicated that a 'Okay, I'm over you, moving onto the real love of my life', but still.

In the final conclusion to this captivating series, every thread of fey life weaved throughout the previous novels is cut, tied or given a perfect twist to end their story. Bananach wants War. She is a ruthless villain and has no redeeming qualities. She just wants War for the sake of having war. For the bloodshed, to revel in the horror and discord and death. She is determined to make one of the Courts officially proclaim war amongst each other and will stop at nothing to achieve her means. Far Dorcha - Death - is walking freely among them and ready to collect. Lives will be changed. Some will lose friends, others will lose everything they know. Some may even lose their sanity.

Decisions must be made. Aislinn must decide who she will spend her eternity with - Keenan or Seth? Niall is not acting himself, his story definitely surprised me because there's a twist I didn't see coming! Actually, so many of the characters surprised me! Keenan was a big shock, because something he does, I never expected him to do. There were many times where I was left wishing that like Seth, I too, could see the future threads of each character. I thought the epilogue was a perfect send off, as it mirrors a major part of one of the previous books and... aww. It was really nice.

I think Donia is one of my favourite characters in the series (well, apart from Niall and Irial!). She is so strong - she has gone through so much, she freely chose to risk Winters Chill to be with the love of her life and then had to endure all those centuries watching as Keenan wooed countless girls and finally having to deal with the heartache of seeing him rule alongside Aislinn, yet she yet she's not a drippy, whining, moping character. She's strong and regal and is befitting of the reign of Winter Queen. She knows how to handle her Court. She lived up to all that and then some in Darkest Mercy. All throughout the book I felt that she was the strongest of the regents.

I love that these characters are not divided into 'good' and 'bad'. Every character has different sides - they make mistakes, they misjudge, they are each capable of both making cruel decisions and sometimes that is exactly what is needed of a regent to run their Court. But they are also each capable of forgiveness and love and the bonds they forge between others is a joy to read... even at times when you just want to shake the life out of them to stop being an idiot about things! They are flawed and that is what makes them so real. Kudos to Melissa for creating a cast of such multi-dimensional fey.

The conclusion was beautifully written and I can't think of a better way to complete each characters journey. Darkest Mercy is just as wonderfully weaved as the previous novels, except with more shocks! If you're a fan of the Wicked Lovely series this is definitely a must read for you. If you haven't started the series yet, I highly recommend you start now!

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, February 19, 2011

This Weeks Gossip (#2)

Cover Reveal

Kiersten White has revealed her shiny, sophisticated, GORGEOUS cover for Supernaturally - the sequel to her equally GORGEOUS Paranormalcy which sadly we must wait for publication. BOO. But at least we can oggle the cover until then *oggles*
Supernaturally by Kiersten White

So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev

I blogged about this cover reveal HERE.
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Publishing Deals:

So I'm sure most of you have heard about this one if you're a fan of Kimberly Derting. Hello? THE BODY FINDER, anyone? Yes? You have awesome taste in books! No? Go sit in the naughty corner. I'm serious. There will now be TWO more novels in this series, following the sequel, Desires of the Dead. And she'll also be publishing a new YA series which sounds a-mazing. The first book is titled The Pledge and is said to be: "about a teen girl in a rigid, hierarchical society who has a secret ability to speak all languages and a hidden past."

A romantic fantasy set in a dystopic, war-torn world, in which a teenage girl realizes that she may be the key to saving her country.

Through To You by Emily Hainsworth. YA paranormal thriller. Alternate realities. Which reminds me of the tv show, Fringe. Need it NOW! I want it, I want it, I want it! Doesn't it sounds SO GOOD?! *grabby hands at Emily's brain*

Eighteen-year-old Camden Pike is grieving for his dead girlfriend until he discovers she's still alive in a parallel reality--one where he's the one who died. The only problem is, she's hiding some very dangerous sercrets that have life-or-death repercussions in both worlds.


Yet another YA book is making it's way to the big screen! Cat Patrick's debut novel, FORGOTTEN, which won't be hitting shelves until June 2011, has been sold to Paramount Pictures and already the main character has been cast. One of the fan favourites to play Katniss in The Hunger Games, Hailee Stienfield, will be play the 16 year old protagonist, London Lane, who loses her memory every night.

Past. Present. Future. Which matters most?

Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her memory of that day is erased.  In the morning, all London can “remember” are events from her future and the people who will play a part in it.  In order to get by, London relies on reminder notes and a trusted friend to navigate relationships and high school life. Adaptable by nature, she tries to view her memory loss as a fact of life rather than a condition. But when London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flashforwards, as the case may be, she realizes that in order to understand her present and her future, she must solve the mystery of her past.

Sounds amazing, doesn't it? I'm really excited to both read and see this fantastic novel come to life!


The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
I am sososososo excited to read this book. Not only because it's shiny, beautiful cover- no, no, no - do you think I'm so shallow? ..... Alright, sure, I lust over hot covers. BUT! This book will be fantastic. Mark my words. And it's up on NetGalley! Ah! I want! Even if your request isn't accepted, you can still read a small teaser they've posted on the description for it. Yep, you guessed it. Teaser SO does not help the whole waiting game!

New Blogs Discovered 
(well, in the past few weeks!)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Follow Friday & Book Blogger Hop

Both Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday are weekly features where their respective hosts post a fun question for other readers to answer on their blogs. Then everyone goes blog hopping around the blogosphere to make new friends and discover new blogs. So don't be a Lonely Lucy, hop on over to Friendly Fernando's blog and share your love of reading together!

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books 

This week's question:
What book(s) would you like to see turned into a movie?"

Ooh! Well, I'm really excited for The Hunger Games movie, which is coming out next year. That is going to be amazing, especially since Suzanne Collins wrote the script, so I'm confident it will remain faithful to the book. Also, Vampire Academy series has movie rights sold and Divergent is in negotiations. They would make amazing movies. Divergent would be incredible on screen. I'd also love to see Anna and the French Kiss (my review will be posted next week), but at the same time, I don't know if the sheer emotional brilliance of that book could translate to screen. I hate it when movies butcher books. 

Ooh! I'm also looking forward to when Beautiful Creatures and Shiver, both have movie rights sold. Okay, I think I'd like  to see every book I loved in movie form. Yet when it actually happens, I complain because it's not as good as the book aka Harry Potter. Although Deathly Hallows part 1 did live up to most of my expectations! So-freaking-excited for part 2!

 Follow Friday is hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View

This week's question:

If you are a fan of Science Fiction, what is your favorite book? If you haven't read Science Fiction before... any inkling to? Anything catch your eye?

Definitely have to go with Across The Universe by Beth Revis and Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund.  I loved both novels and while I'm not certain that there will be a sequel to Academy 7, I'm eagerly looking forward to reading future books in both series. Across The Universe is set in the future on a massive, inhabited spaceship that's been travelling for a couple hundred years to reach another planet and Academy 7 is an inter-galactic novel set at the most prestigious school in the galaxy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: Nevermore

Author: Kelly Creagh
Release Date: Already on shelves
Publisher: Atheneum

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game.

Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind.

Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

Not having read much of Poe's work, I wasn't sure what I was in for when I started this book. But quickly learned that regardless of your interest in him and his work, you won't encounter any confusion and I'm pretty sure you'll love the book as I did!

So what kicks start this wonderful novel is an English project. Popular cheerleader, Isobel Hanley, is paired up with 'goth freak' Varen Nethers to do a project on Edgar Allan Poe. Neither is particularly impressed with the match-up, but they're stuck together and soon this chance encounter grows into a beautiful, strong bond, yet at the same time brings with it a scary world of dreams and things not of this reality.

Both the characters and the plots are standouts in this novel. Isobel is not your typical perky, blonde stereotypical cheerleader. Okay, yes, she's a  blonde, popular cheerleader who likes pink. But she has more depth and is SO much better than her absolute JERK ex-friends. I say ex because they do not take well to her hanging around Varen. Her boyfriend, Brad is.. ugh. What an ass. They do a bunch of awful stuff and make horrible threats towards Varen and all the while I just want to push my fist through the pages and make contact with the nearest nose. I'm so glad Isobel isn't one of those girls who just complains about the crap they're doing, yet still hangs around with them. No, she dumps their sorry asses and stands up for Varen. Right at that moment, this girl totally shot up in popularity with me, despite her popularity being downgraded in school.

I approve wholeheartedly of her new choice in friends - Gwen is awesome. Seriously, I'm loving this girl. She's funny and impulsive and persistent and not someone Isobel would have ordinarily hung around. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Isobel and her younger brother, Danny. That was everything a brother/sister duo should be. That boy is one funny kid, nearly all of his lines had me laughing. They argue, barter, cover-for-each other (but with a price),  name-call and yet there is that underlying sibling love. I thought it was portrayed very realistically and hope we see more of it in the sequel.

What started our as a school project between two of the most unlikely students, become something far more intense. A connection was formed and feelings began to grow. I really like that they didn't instantly 'fall' for one another - it grew over time and felt very natural. Varen is not a character who lets his guard down easily, so it takes some time for Isobel to see that vulnerability that lies beneath and awww, I wanna give that boy a big hug. *pauses writing review to give imaginary Varen a hug* I feel better now, do you too? Good. I really loved him. On the outside, both he and Isobel are polar opposites - cheerleader and goth. But Varen is intelligent, sardonic, witty, sweet and who woulda thunk I'd fall for a 'goth' boy? See! Damn stereotypes in society. There is so much more to a person than how they choose to look.

The paranormal element comes in more heavily in the second half of the book, but it begins to emerge itself into Isobel's life after meeting Varen. She starts seeing things, hearing things, things that are not normal - creepy, scary, horrific looking things - are they real? As these occurrences become more frequent, there's times when she's unable to tell the difference between dreams and reality and soon the lines begin to blur together and overlap into what becomes a race to save Varen from the dreamland he has created. But will Isobel save him in time before he's lost to that world forever? Excellent question, you better read the book to find out!

I'm very happy to hear this is the first in a trilogy, because CLEARLY it cannot be it after that ending. I can't wait to see what happens next and how certain events will unfold. I also became more interested in Poe and his work from reading this novel, so it's encouraged me to do some research!

Rating 4.5/5

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: Sequels Edition

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

Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry #3)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Release Date: May 24th 2011

Luis Fuentes is a good boy who doesn't live with the angst that his big brothers, Alex and Carlos, have always lived with. Luis is smart, funny, and has big dreams of becoming an astronaut. But when he falls for the wrong girl, Luis enters a dark world he's never known, and just when he thinks he's got life all figured out, learns some disturbing news about his family that destroys his positive outlook on life. Will that Fuentes bad boy streak come out with a vengeance and lure Luis to live on the edge like his new girlfriend and his own father?
Continuing all the steamy romance of the first two books, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Simone Elkeles gives fans one more satisfying taste of the irresistible Fuentes boys.

Jessica Rules The Dark Side (Jessica #2)
Author: Beth Fantaskey
Release Date: January 9th 2012

When Jessica Packwood found out she was a Romanian vampire princess, she had the shock of her teenage life. Turns out that was the easy part. Now, married to Prince Lucius Vladescu, she has to claim her throne and convince a vampire nation she’s fit to be their queen. But Jess can’t even order a decent meal from her castle’s Romanian staff, let alone deal with devious undead subjects who would love to see her fail.

And when Lucius is accused of murdering a vampire Elder and imprisoned without the blood he needs, Jessica finds herself alone, fighting for both their survivals.

Desperate to clear her husband’s name and win his release, Jess enlists the help of her best friend Mindy Stankowicz and Lucius’s mysterious Italian cousin, Raniero Lovatu. But both of them are keeping some dark secrets. Can Jess figure out who to trust – and how to rise to power – before she loses everything, including the vampire she loves?

Full of romance, mystery, and danger, the highly anticipated sequel to Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side shows that sometimes a princess has to earn her “happily ever after” – with a sharpened stake in hand.

Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2)
Author: Andrea Cremer
Release Date: July 26 2011

This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended.Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer,one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack and the man she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive

Shift (Shade #2)
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Release Date: May 3rd 2011

Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to. Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift.
As Aura’s search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart.

I loved the first (or the in Chain Reaction's cause, the first two) books that began each of the series above and eagerly awaiting (okay, IMPATIENTLY AWAITING) these books to come out! These are only a small handful of the amazing sequels I'm waging war to have released early - what are you waiting on?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Guest Post: Laura Kreitzer on Human Trafficking

I'm sure you will see this post on quite a number of blogs around the blogosphere during the next few days and I highly urge you to please take a moment to read. It's an incredible important issue more people need to be aware of. I'd like to thank Luara for considering my blog to be apart of this!

Hello Literary-Folk!

My name is Laura Kreitzer, and I’m the author of the Timeless Series and the Summer Chronicles. This week I would like to alert everyone on a colossal crisis that’s gone unnoticed in the world: human trafficking. That’s why I’ve asked hundreds of blogs to be involved with spreading the word on this issue that’s become close to my heart.

As an author, and someone whose life is put in the spotlight, I keep most people at a distance. Only a handful of my friends know the whole me and the events from my past. But this week I’d like to share with you a part of myself that the outside world doesn’t see (and a part of me I don’t like to share). I was emotionally abused for five years by someone I thought loved me, my mind beaten into submission. Though the turmoil I went through doesn’t penetrate as deep as someone forced into slavery on the worldwide market for human trafficking, I can sadly relate in some ways: imprisoned, my life dictated down to what I wore, ate, where I went, whom I spoke to, where I worked, when I slept, bending to his every whim. He did not sway, even when I cried through some of the more traumatic things he had me do. I was a slave in my own home. In my desperation for freedom, I held out a gun and asked him to just end my suffering. I was desperate.

I can’t even imagine how many women (and men) in the world are in a similar situation. What’s even worse, I had it mild compared to the children that are sold for labor or sex. Surprisingly, the good ol’ U.S.A. is reported to be the host to two million slaves. Did you know this? Because I certainly did not; not until I was preparing to write my newest novel: Phantom Universe. The main character, Summer Waverly, was stolen as a child and sold as a slave to the captain of a modern-day pirate ship. From a loved child who only knew “time-out” as punishment, to being whipped into silence was something I knew nothing about. So I researched deeply into human trafficking and the psychological effects of torture of various types that one would endure in these circumstances. I felt shaken at my findings and knew I had to tell Summer’s story. (Read a sneak peek here.)

A storm began to brew in my mind; transforming, morphing, twisting, and expanding into this massive, black cloud. I had to bring this tragic atrocity to the forefront. My own emotional experiences, mixed with the research I did on human trafficking, made me feel an intense connection with Summer, and to all women who’ve been through this kind of brutality. The cloud ruptured and rained all over my computer one day. It took one month to write Phantom Universe, the first in the Summer Chronicles. I was so consumed by the story that I wrote nearly nonstop, only breaking for necessary tasks like eating, showering, and occasionally—very occasionally—sleeping.

Though the book I’ve written would be classified as Science Fiction, or as I’d like to call it, Dystopian, the emotions and psychological aspects are not Science Fiction—they're real. Reviewers have said many amazing things about Summer, this character who is so real in my mind and who I cried along with as the words poured from my soul onto my screen.

“I admired Summer's strength and ability to adapt,” says CiCi’s Theories. “I felt tied to her emotions,” Jennifer Murgia, author or Angel Star admits. And Tahlia Newland, author of Lethal Inheritance, remarks, “Summer is strong and smart in mind [. . .]”

Through her overwhelmingly horrendous past, Summer goes on more than just a physical journey in Phantom Universe, she goes on a psychological one as well; growing beyond her mute state to persevere and survive in a new world beyond the whip she’s so frightened of.

Now that the release date is here, I’m excited and terrified to share this story with everyone. I’m emotionally tied in every way to the words I’ve written, because they’re more than words. More than just a story on a page. Beyond the fictional aspects, there’s a real issue that needs to be addressed: human trafficking must be stopped. We shouldn’t sit idly by while this continues to plague us. Our world’s children—our nation’s children—are being affected. It’s time we take action!

Earlier this month Phantom Universe hit Barnes and Noble’s top 100 Best Selling list. I’ve decided to donate 10% of my sales from Phantom Universe, until the end of February, to the DNA Foundation.

“DNA hopes to help abolish modern day slavery, deter perpetrators, and free the many innocent and exploited victims. We are committed to forcing sex slavery out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

Freedom is a basic human right and slavery is one of the greatest threats to that freedom. No one has the right to enslave another person.”

—From DNA Foundation’s Website

I ask that you spread the word to everyone you know. Look around on the DNA Foundation website and find a way to get involved in ending human trafficking. Take action today. Everyone has a voice—you have a voice. Will you have the courage to use it?

Cover Reveal: Sweet Venom

I am super excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Tera Lynn Childs' cover reveal of SWEET VENOM.  Without further ado, feast your eyes upon it's glory!

Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Release Date: October 2011
Check out the collages Tera made of the three main characters HERE 
LIKE the Sweet Venom Trilogy Facebook page

Three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in a world where monsters lurk in plain sight.

 Gorgeous, isn't it?! I love how the girls hair is all neat and proper right until it gets down to the bottom and then it starts curling a la Medusa. I love the idea behind the plot and can't wait until October to get my hands on this!

What are your thoughts?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Is In The Air

"What is love, really? Flowers, chocolate, and poetry? Or was it something else? Was it being able to finish someone's joke? Was it having absolute faith that someone was there at your back? Was it knowing someone so well that they instantly understood why you did the things you did--and shared those same beliefs?" 

- Rose Hathaway, Last Sacrifice

Since it's Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share some quotes from a couple of my favourite pairings in YA fiction. Warning: There may be some spoilers if you haven't read certain books from each series.

Dimitri and Rose, Vampire Academy series

"Who else is going?" I asked.
He shrugged. "Just you and me."
My mood promptly shot up past 'cheerful' and went straight to 'ecstatic'. Me and Dimitri. Alone. In a car. This might very well be worth a surprise test.
"How far is it?" Silently, I begged for it to be a really long drive. Like, one that would take a week. And would involve us staying overnight in luxury hotels. Maybe we'd get stranded in a snow bank, and only body heat would keep us alive.
"Five Hours."
A bit less than I'd hoped for. Still, five hours was better than nothing. It didn't rule out the snow bank possibility, either."

- Frostbite
"No," Dimitri interrupted gently. He moved his face  toward mine, our foreheads nearly touching. "It won't happen to you. You're too strong. You'll fight it, just like you did this time."
"I only did because you were here."
He wrapped his arms around me, and I buried my face in his chest. "I can't do it by myself," I whispered.
"You can," he said. There was a tremulous note in his voice. "You're strong-you're so, so strong. It's why I love you."

- Shadow Kiss
"Did you mean it... that if Victor did tell...that you'd..." I couldn't finish. I couldn't bring myself to say the words have him killed.
"I don't have much influence in the upper levels of Moroi royalty, but I have plenty among the guardians who handle the dirty work in our world."
"You didn't answer the question. If you'd really do it."
"I'd do a lot of things to protect you, Roza."

- Shadow Kiss
He was kissing me back. Maybe, just maybe, Dimitri wasn't as resolved as he claimed to be. Maybe under all that guilt and certainty that he couldn't love again, he still wanted me. I would have liked to have found out. But I didn't have the time.
Instead, I punched him."

- Last Sacrifice
"I'm glad you gave in. I'm glad your self control isn't as strong as mine."
"Roza, my self-control is ten times stronger than yours."
"Oh yeah? That's not the impression I just got."
"Wait until next time. I'll do things that'll make you lose control within seconds."

- Last Sacrifice

Adrian and Rose, Vampire Academy series

"Damn it," I muttered.
"What?" asked Adrian.
"I hate when you're the sane one. That's my job."
"Rose," he said, forcibly trying to keep a serious tone, "I can think of many words to describe you, sexy and hot being at the top of the list. You know what's not on the list? Sane."

- Shadow Kiss

"You approve?" I asked, spinning around. He slipped an arm around my waist. "Unfortunately, yes. I was hoping you'd show up in something a lot sluttier. Something that would scandalize my parents."
"Sometimes it's like you don't even care about me as a person," I observed as we walked inside. "It's like you're just using me for shock value."
"It's both, little dhampir. I care about you, and I'm using you for shock value."

- Spirit Bound
"I nearly dropped the plate I held. "You've asked me out tons of times."
"Not really. I've made inappropriate suggestions and frequently pushed for nudity. But I've never asked you out on a real date. And, if memory serves, you did say you'd give me a fair chance once I let you clean out my trust fund."
"I didn't clean it out," I scoffed.

- Blood Promise

Ron and Hermione - the greatest series ever written Harry Potter series 

Ron had ambled over to them looking lost and desperate.
"Good luck, Ron," said Hermione, standing on tiptoe and kissing him on the cheek. "And you, Harry-"
Ron seemed to come to himself slightly as they walked back across the Great Hall. He touched the spot on his face where Hermione had kissed him, looking puzzled, as though he was not quite sure what had just happened.

- Order Of The Phoenix
“Hang on a moment!” said Ron sharply. “We’ve forgotten someone!”
“Who?” asked Hermione.
“The house-elves, they’ll all be down in the kitchen, won’t they?”
“You mean we ought to get them fighting?” asked Harry.
“No” said Ron seriously, “I mean we should tell them to get out. We don’t want any more Dobbies, do we? We can’t order them to die for us — “
There was a clatter as the basilisk fangs cascaded out of Hermione’s arms. Running at Ron, she flung them around his neck and kissed him full on the mouth. Ron threw away the fangs and broomstick he was holding and responded with such enthusiasm that he lifted Hermione off her feet.
“Is this the moment?” Harry asked weakly, and when nothing happened except that Ron and Hermione gripped each other still more firmly and swayed on the spot, he raised his voice. “OI! There’s a war going on here!”
Ron and Hermione broke apart, their arms still around each other.
“I know, mate” said Ron, who looked as though he had recently been hit on the back of the head with a Bludger, “so it’s now or never, isn’t it?”
"Never mind that, what about the Horcrux?" Harry shouted. "D'you think you could just --- just hold it in, until we've got the diadem?"
"Yeah --- right --- sorry ---" said Ron, and he and Hermione set about gathering up fangs, both pink in the face."

- Deathly Hallows
Ron tripped dazedly toward Harry and Hermione.
“You’re okay,” he mumbled, before Hermione flew at him and hugged him tightly.
“I thought – I thought – "
“M all right,” said Ron, patting her on the back. “M fine.”
“Ron was great,” said Tonks warmly, relinquishing her hold on Lupin. “Wonderful. Stunned one of the Death Eaters, straight to the head, and when you’re aiming at a moving target from a flying broom –“
“You did?” said Hermione, gazing up at Ron with her arms still around his neck.
“Always the tone of surprise,” he said grumpily, breaking free.

- Deathly Hallows
"Ron," said Hermione in a dignified voice, dipping the point of her quill into her ink pot, "you are the most insensitive wart I have ever had the misfortune to meet."

- Order Of The Phoenix

Katniss and Peeta  -The Hunger Games trilogy

"Peeta, you were supposed to wake me after a couple of hours," I say.
"For what? Nothing's going on here," he says. "Besides, I like watching you sleep. You don't scowl. Improves your looks a lot."
This, of course, brings on a scowl that makes him grin." 
- Catching Fire
In the fluorescent light, the circles under his eyes look like bruises. “There’s still time. You should sleep.” Unresisting, he lies back down, but just stares at the needle on one of the dials as it twitches from side to side. Slowly, as I would with a wounded animal, my hand stretches out and brushes a wave of hair from his forehead. He freezes at my touch, but doesn’t recoil. So I continue to gently smooth back his hair. It’s the first time I voluntarily touched him since the last arena.
“You’re still trying to protect me. Real or not real,” he whispers.
“Real,” I answer. It seems to require more explanation. “Because that’s what you and I do. Protect each other.”

- Mockingjay
"...I don't want you forgetting how different our circumstances are. If you die, and I live, there's no life for me at all back in District Twelve. You're my whole life." Peeta says. "I would never be happy again. It's different for you. I'm not saying it wouldn't be hard. But there are other people who'd make your life worth living."

"No one really needs me," he says, and there's no self-pity in his voice. It's true his family doesn't need him. They will mourn him, as will a handful of friends. But they will get on.... I realise only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.

"I do," I say. "I need you."
- Catching Fire

Honorable mention: Argus Filch and Madam Pince from the Harry Potter series. Come on, we all know something was going ont here!

And from the book where love is a disease, comes some great quotes in favour of love.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver 

And now I know why they invented words for love, why they had to: It's the only thing that can come close to describing what I feel in that moment, the baffling mixture of pain and pleasure and fear and joy, all running sharply through me at once.
Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That's what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the wrold falls away on either side
We stand there for a moment, looking at each other, and in that instant I feel our connection so strongly it's as though it achieves physical existence, becomes a hand all around us, cupping us together, protecting us. This is what people are always talking about when they talk about God: this feeling, of being held and understood and protected. Feeling this way seems about as close to saying a prayer as you could get...

So who are some of your favouite YA couples? Any memorable quotes? Hope everyone has a lovely Valentine's Day, regardless of whether you have someone special to share it with. We have books and fictional men/women to make us swoon, 'tis all the inner bookworm needs ;)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Follow Friday

Both Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday are weekly features where their respective hosts post a fun question for other readers to answer on their blogs. Then everyone goes blog hopping around the blogosphere to make new friends and discover new blogs. So don't be a Lonely Lucy, hop on over to Friendly Fernando's blog and share your love of reading together!

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books 

This week's question:
Tell us about one of your posts from this week and give us a link so we can read it (review or otherwise)!

The perfect question!! Because it gives me the opportunity to push a book on you all that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!!! My review for Divergent by Veronica Roth -  CLICK HERE AND LUST. One of the best books I have ever read and you will not be disappointed when you get your hands on a copy in May!!

 Follow Friday is hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View

This week's question:

What is your favorite romance hero-type? Stereotype wise. Do you like the strong silent type or the brute macho man?

Oh, tough question! I love a wide mix. See, I love the sweet, boy-next-door guy who's honest and caring (can I hear a PEETA MELLARK anyone?) and then I love the silent, brooding hottie who's just smouldering mystery and secrets waiting to be unravelled. And I can't forget the arrogant bad boy with the cocky smile and easy swagger. Oh make a girl weak at the knees. There are too many 'stereotype' guys to name - I love them all! Depends on how they're written, but there's plenty of room in my heart, so crowd around my motley crew of fictional boyfriends *dreamy sigh* 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth
Release Date: May 3rd 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
One choice

One choice decides your friends, defines your beliefs, and determines your loyalties . . . forever.

Or, one choice can transform you.

In Veronica Roth's debut novel, Divergent, a perfect society unfolds into a dystopian world of electrifying decisions, stunning consequences, heartbreaking betrayals, and unexpected romance.
Thanks to Eliza from Harper Collins Aus for sending me an ARC of this. Thank you SO much! I have hereby decided to commit the rest of my life to Abnegation, to dote on her every need.

Honestly, I don't know where to begin. I am speechless. And trust me when I say, that doesn't happen very often.

Divergent is officially one of the best books I have ever had the fortune of reading. IT IS SO FREAKING GOOD!!!! I can understand why there are a lot of comparisons with The Hunger Games in many reviews for this book. If you've read The Hunger Games, you'll know that it's a mind-blowing dystopian trilogy. And I can say the EXACT same thing for Divergent! A thoughtful, compelling, edge-of-your-seat, gasp-worthy dystopian novel that every single person will be talking about this year.

Beatrice Prior is 16 years old and about to take her aptitutude test. With her result, she will then decide which faction she will spend the rest of her life in. Her world is divided into five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Dauntless (the brave), Erudite (the intelligent) and Candor (the honest). There is also another, one few know about and far too dangerous to even contemplate: Divergent.

It's hard for me to write this review without giving away which faction she chooses, because it's basically the setting for near on the entire novel. But I really don't want to ruin the experience for you. Beatrice makes her choice, which is not the same faction as her family. She's then thrust into a whole new world with vastly different rules to her old one and a completely different way of living. She adopts the nickname "Tris" and launches head first into this shocking new way of life.

Her new faction - wow. The atmosphere is incredible, it's crazy, it's confronting and so very addictive. These traits the factions are moulded around, they're things we see in our every day lives. We value them, we strive to become more honest or brave or kind. But when you make a person construct their entire life around one particular value and not allow a healthy balance, these values can turn deadly. Intelligence can be an extraordinarily dangerous weapon when used the wrong way, selflessness leaves no room for self-preservation, bravery can become skewed and toes the line of cruelty and sadism.

Tris quickly learns to toughen up physically, if you don't learn how to throw a punch you're a goner. Veronica Roth doesn't shy away from violence or death or moral and ethical issues - she brings them right to the forefront. As Tris was completing some tasks during her initiation into her new faction, I totally shared in that exhilaration along with her. The fear, the thrills, the hatred, the appreciation. We see the good parts of her faction and the way the members can draw together, but other times you see the startling evidence of what corrupt leaders can result in.

FOUR!!! Have I mentioned four is now my favourite number? He has totally made the list as one of my favourite fictional guys. The relationship that develops between Tris and Four is so brilliant. It's real and honest and filled with so much respect. They are both incredibly well suited for one another. They know when lend a hand to support the other and when to back off. They're strong characters and they understand that about the other. They don't treat the other like fragile little flowers, they recognise strength. I just loved the way they work.

For those of you who have read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about here - I loved the chapter where Four takes Tris into his simulation. He allows her to see that part of himself, his fears, where he is most vulnerable and the way she handles it is amazing. It just showed how well they work together, the way she guided him and stood up for him. They're not afraid to lean on the other for help. Man, I could gush all day! Four! Four! Four! Tris! Tris! Tris! Four-Triss.... Fortress.... this powerhouse duo is exactly like a fortress. Strong, protective. I am so clever.

There is not a single thing I dislike about this novel. Veronica  holds no punches - I cannot tell you how many times my jaw dropped. Especially during the last 60 or so pages, I could not turn the pages fast enough, my heart was pounding, I was so nervous with anticipation to see what would happen next.  OMG damn the ending was spectacular. When all hell breaks loose, for lack of better words, it's just bam-bam-bam, so fast-paced and holding no mercy. You better keep up, because if you fall behind, you stay behind.

I am blow away by Divergent and fail to understand how this is only Veronica's first novel. This is surely the work of a much older, much more seasoned writer! Roth, I freaking love you. This review does not even begin to show your book the love it deserves. I can't wait to see what she has planned next for us!

I really need to reconsider my 5 star rating. Because this is the second book to have made those 5 stars void. Divergent is too good for a rating. It's too good to be held in sweaty, human palms. Please wear gloves when turning the pages, else it'll be tainted. I know a lot of people say this about books, but mark my words when I say THIS IS THE NEXT BIG THING!!

Review: Starcrossed

Author: Josephine Angelini

Release Date: US: May 31 2011 / UK: June 6 2011
Publisher: US: Harper Collins / UK: Pan Macmillan
Thanks to: Pan Macmillan UK for providing me with a review copy!

How do you defy destiny?
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart

If you've been unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of my book-raving, then you'll know I have been lusting after this book for AGES. I absolutely loved the idea of Greek Gods in YA - the plot and breathtaking cover totally sold me on this novel. So you can imagine my excitement when I received an ARC in the mail! Sadly though, the actual content didn't quite live up to expectations.

Painfully shy Helen Hamilton and her best friend Claire are about to begin their new year of school on the island of Nantucket.  And so are the gorgeous kids of the new rich Delos family who've just moved to the island. They're all anyone can talk about and it's driving the usually calm, mild-mannered Helen insane. For some reason the mere mention of the Delos family drives her into a rage. And when she and Lucas Delos lay eyes on each other for the very first time, the phrase 'if looks could kill' comes to mind, because that's exactly what Helen tries to do. Kill Lucas with her bare hands in the middle of the crowded school corridor.

She can't understand where this mind-consuming hatred is coming from and why she sees the image of three sobbing sisters (who she soon learns are The Furies) whenever a member of the Delos family is nearby. After a few more attempts at murdering one another and hate glares, Helen discovers that she and the Delos family are part of an ancient blood-feud and The Furies want payment. Hence the impulse to repay that by killing each other. I don't think it's a spoiler by saying they manage to find a way around this, since it would be a little hard developing a 'love' story when you want to murder your love interest.

The growing feelings... which grew kinda fast, as in, Helen felt the urge to kiss him mere hours after the hatred subsided and involved a lot of constant hand holding in the beginning.. They want to be with each other, they both show signs of it, but then Lucas keeps pulling away before anything romantic happens. I can understand the reasons why they were compelled to one another, but I just wasn't really invested in the romance. And something concerning the romance at the end of the book is totally going to remind people of another popular YA series, while not exactly the same, it's the same in essence. Cryptic much? LOL.

I really enjoyed the ideas Josephine used from greek mythology, the overall plot and the blood-feuds and history with Scions intrigued me. And what many Scions are currently trying to... achieve, which  I think is a cool idea and totally a spoiler. So moving on, the Scions are descendants of the Gods - not directly, years and years down the family line, but they still possess incredible powers. In fact, many of the recent generations of Scions are more powerful than their parents. The Scions are divided in four Houses which represent the four different bloodlines. The Furies set the Houses against each other way back during the Trojan War, a curse they still carry to this very day, making it impossible for any of the Houses to unite. But on the rare occasion when members from the opposing Houses find a way to rid of The Furies, like Helen and Lucas, it brings on a whole other problem that could potentially start the Trojan War again if they were to be together in the way they want.

I don't really want to say too much more without giving away spoilers, but Helen begins to train and learn more about her abilities, mainly because of a threat that's come to the island. Someone is after her and she and the Delos family are trying to figure out who and do their best to ensure Helen is kept safe at all times. Something about the novel just felt lackluster to me. There was plenty of stuff happening, but I couldn't connect enough with Helen and the story to feel emotionally tied to any of it. I enjoyed the history and the ideas behind the plot and mythology that Josephine created, but as the story unfolded I just kept reading to finish it, rather than read to see what happened next.

I wasn't the biggest fan of Josephine's writing style either. It didn't flow very well for me and I kept being distracted by the writing multiple times throughout the story.

This review probably sucks because I'm not so great at writing about books I didn't love. I'm more of a gushy person and "OMG I'll drain your body of fluids if you don't read this book' type, so I have difficulty writing about books I wasn't so invested in. I still think a lot of people will love this book - it has the right elements and plenty of characters to keep most people entertained, but I guess it just depends on the individual. You'll either love, kinda like it, or hate it. Me? I'm in the kinda like it group.

Rating: 3/5
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