Saturday, October 29, 2011

In My Mailbox #21

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

So I had a pretty great book week! So excited to dive into all of these amazing titles. I haven't read the first five books in the Obernewytn Chronicles yet, but I'm really intrigued by this series. A big thanks to Cait at Escape Through The Pages for my Where She Went giveaway win!

EEEEEE! MARA DYER! I put this copy on hold at my library ages ago and it finally came in. The AMAZING Brooke @ Brooke Reports sent me her extra copy a couple of weeks ago which I'm waiting to arrive, but I already know the minute it comes I'll be rereading. And not just the Noah scenes (okaymaybethenoahscenesinparticular). Loving this so far!

SO excited for Touch of Power, loved Maria's Insiders series. Blogger friends have all said how much they adored Cold Kiss, so I hope I will too! And of course, I'm super eager to find out what's going to happen next with Ethan, Lena and the gang in Beautiful Chaos.

Liz and Sonia.... you'll be happy to know I put The Iron Daughter on hold at the library this week and plan to catch up on the Iron Fey series soon :) So when I found a review copy of The Iron Knight awaiting me in the mail today.... is this not a sign from the book gods?!

What's in your mailbox this week?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Books to Film: The Hunger Games Posters!

Excuse my double posting, but I couldn't contain my gushing over this to myself. I want you all to gush with me!!

You may have already seen, since they were released while I was off snoozing in the land of dreams. But. The Hunger Games. Movie Posters. Katniss. Peeta. Gale. Cinna. Rue. Effie. Haymitch. Cato. Holy. Freaking. Crap!

Click on them for more bigger and beautiful versions!

THEY LOOK AMAZING!!! Oh my gosh. Rue is so gorgeous! She is going to break my heart ;( I'm not sure about Haymitch's hair, but I'm sure he'll be fantastic! Peeta/Katniss/Gale? PERFECTION! Loving the look of Effie! And Cinna! Just... wow. I smell a trailer coming up soon. November.

Are you freaking excited or are you freaking excited?! I am giddy with joy for this movie to finally hit screens. Which poster do you like best?

Review: Exile

Author: Rebecca Lim
Release Date: Already out, buy a copy!
Publisher: HarperCollins
Add it: Goodreads
Mercy′s search continues ...

All Mercy knows is that she is an angel, exiled from heaven for a crime she can′t remember committing. So when she ′wakes′ inside the body and life of eighteen-year-old Lela Neill, Mercy has only limited recall of her past life. Her strongest memories are of Ryan, the mortal boy who′d begun to fall for her - and she for him.

Lela′s life is divided between caring for her terminally ill mother and her work as a waitress at the Green Lantern, a busy city cafe frequented by suits, cab drivers, strippers, backpackers and the homeless, and Mercy quickly falls into the rhythm of this new life.

But when Mercy′s beloved, Luc, reappears in her dreams, she begins to awaken to glimpses of her true nature and her true feelings for Ryan. How can she know that her attempts to contact Ryan will have explosive consequences?

Meanwhile, ′the Eight′ - responsible for her banishment - hover near, determined to keep Mercy and Luc apart, forever ...
Exile picks up exactly where the first book ended. Ripped away from Carmen Zappacosta's body, Mercy is once again thrust into an unknown life. She finds herself in a completely different season, time zone, continent.... an entire ocean away from the human boy she came to grow feelings for, Ryan Daley. Welcome to Melbourne, Australia. And our host body for the novel? Lela Neill. Lela works at The Green Lantern, a cafe which attracts a colourful and varied collection of customers - from suit-wearing computer geeks to local strippers. It's here where most of the novel is set as Mercy slides into Lela's daily life, serving customer's coffee and advice, all the while caring for her terminally ill mother. The angel of death looms closer every day, but is Lela's mother the only soul he's come to reap?

The tone of Mercy and Exile vary dramatically and while I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and suspense of the kidnapping in the first book, I especially enjoyed the relationships formed in this novel. The secondary characters all grew on me, from the ever-quite and mysterious muslim chef, Sulamain, to Justine, the emotionally troubled stripper with a dangerously abusive boyfriend. I love seeing the ways in which Mercy helps mend tattered lives and broken bonds in each new body she resides in. Even while she's on a mission to find Ryan, not to mention uncover answers to her own existence, she still tries to find ways to help the person she's soul-jacking. To be there for Lela's dying mother, to offer Justine sanctuary and to be a beacon of hope and forgiveness to a man reeling over the edge.

But she doesn't see what's right under her nose and an unsuspecting danger is growing larger, one in which she inadvertently fuels. I had my suspicions early on, but wasn't entirely sure how it would turn out. While I was right, Lim still managed to keep me gripping the edge of my seat as the climax played out, fearing the worst, hoping for the best, and preparing myself for an unexpected twist.

I must also mention Luc. Luc and Mercy were once a force to be reckoned with, crazy in love. Until Mercy's unforgiving exile, which she still can't remember. Ever since, the Eight have kept them apart, hiding Mercy in body after body, so now dreams are the only way Luc can connect with her. And he's been doing so ever since she fell from grace. He's hunting though, desperately trying to find her. But he also begins to show a cruel and callous side, one Mercy has never seen in him before. Both Luc and the Eight warn her against the other. Who can she really trust?

Memories are slowly beginning to grow stronger, new abilities rise to the surface and mysterious heavenly beings appear, each another clue to her origins, teasing us with answers to the riddle that is Mercy. Exile is stunning novel and you can't help but become invested in both Mercy and Lela's lives. There is yet another cliffhanger ending, but they're fitting cliffhangers... they suit the type of story that Lim is crafting. But of course, they have me pulling my hair out until I flip open the next book! There is an addictive quality to Lim's writing. Her words flow so easily, so gorgeously and she constantly leaves you wanting to know more. This is a brilliant and well-crafted series that is fast becoming a favourite!

4/5 Golden Apples!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday #33

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: Jen Calonita
Release Date: April 10 2012
Publisher: Poppy
Add it: Goodreads
Fifteen-year-old Isabelle Scott loves her less-than-charmed life by the boardwalk on the wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina, but when a social worker must place her to live with a long-lost uncle and his preppy privileged family, she's taken away from everything she's ever known.

Unfortunately, inserting Isabelle into the glamorous lifestyle of Emerald Cove doesn't go so well. Cousin Mirabelle Monroe isn't thrilled to share her life with an outsider, and, she is ready to pull her hair out of her head over all the rumors and backstabbing that lurk beneath their classmates' Southern charm about her new family member. Like each other or not, Izzie and Mira are going to learn to get along, especially when they learn a life-changing secret that will turn both their worlds upside down. 

 Author: Sarah Singleton
Release Date: 29th March 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Add it: Goodreads
Ellie is staying with her maternal grandparents for the summer, while her recently bereaved dad takes off on holiday with his new girlfriend. Upset by his apparent callousness, missing her mother, and jealous for her dad's attention, she begins to spiral into depression. Her grandparents suggest she joins a local theatre group, to meet people her own age and get away from the dark thoughts that threaten to engulf her. But then she gets roped into a seance at the theatre, and is the only one who actually sees a real ghost. Now a spirit is contacting her from beyond the grave - and as the dead boy's story unfolds, Ellie finds herself falling in love with him. But if she solves his mystery and helps release his soul, will he be lost to her forever?

Belles: There's something I found so appealing about those stories where the character gets thrust into a lifestyle so alien to what they're used to. I love seeing them have to adapt and the complications that are certain to follow. And what deep, dark secret will the girls learn that will affect both their lives? Oooh, intrigued!

Dark Storm: It had me at 'seance'. What can I say, I'm sucker for a ghost story! And such an impossible scenario - if Ellie helps set his soul free, she'll lose the boy she's fallen in love with. I love me a complicated romance.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Books to Screen: UNEARTHLY to hit the CW network!

Following in the vein of The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle and still in the developmental stages, Eve by Anna Carey, guess which awesome YA novel may be hitting the small screen soon?

Details: KSITETV

YES. That's Unearthly by Cynthia Hand.

Are you excited?! Alright, yes. My immediate thoughts were 'TUCKER. RIDING A HORSE. IN A COWBOY HAT. SHIRTLESS. SHIRTLESS. SHIRTLESS," because in case you hadn't noticed, the CW hires extraordinarily sexy actors. Have you taken a look at the Salvatore brothers recently? The Winchesters? TYLER LOCKWOOD? 

Ahem. Anyway. I LOVED Unearthly, so I'm so excited to see if it will become a sure fire thing.  I wasn't really a fan of the first book in The Vampire Diaries series, but the show? One of my absolute favourites. There's always that fear that they'll screw it up, but I have my fingers crossed! 

Are you excited? What other YA novels would you like to see hit on our tv screens?

Review: Mercy

Author: Rebecca Lim
Release Date: Already out, buy a copy!
Publisher: Harper Collins
Add it: Goodreads
Mercy ′wakes′ on a school bus bound for Paradise, a small town where everyone knows everyone else′s business... or thinks they do. But Mercy has a secret life. She is an angel, doomed to return repeatedly to Earth, taking on a new ′persona′ each time she does, in an effort to resolve a cataclysmic rift between heavenly beings.

The first of a brilliant new series sees Mercy meeting Ryan, an eighteen-year-old whose sister was kidnapped two years ago and is presumed dead. When another girl is also kidnapped, Mercy knows she has to act quickly and use extraordinary powers to rescue her, even if it means exposing her true identity.

Fallen from grace, cursed to live through an eternity of stolen lives, with no memory of why. Mercy only knows she jumps from body to body, life to life, pushing aside the host soul so the body becomes her own. But she doesn't understand why she's doomed to such a fate - what crime did she commit so long ago to deserve this exile from home?

This time, Mercy finds herself thrust into the body of 16 year old Carmen Zappacosta, who's on her way to the small town of Paradise for a choir concert. She's one of the star sopranos, with a voice like no other, but she lacks the confidence to really back it up. Mercy is the polar opposite of Carmen. While Carmen is a doormat, never standing up for herself or taking control, Mercy's confident. She's unafraid of a challenge and doesn't take crap from anybody. Living life after life that will never be hers, full of endless questions and uncertainty, she still finds purpose. Purpose in helping fix the lives she's forced to live, for every one that she's experienced has been in need of mending. She's a surprisingly relatable character who I took quite a liking to.

Carmen's boarding with the Daley's while in Paradise, a family haunted by a tragic past. Two years ago, Lauren Daley was kidnapped. No suspects, no witnesses, no leads. Rumours abound that it was an inside job have placed a dirty mark over the Daley name. The only person who believes Lauren's still alive is her twin brother, Ryan. He's never given up hope or stopped chasing leads of his own to find her, no matter how dangerous. Mercy offers to help him and the further they dig, the more the mystery deepens. Rebecca Lim is brilliant at creating suspense, toying with your mind until you're unsure what to believe anymore. I had suspicions, but was never entirely sure of who the kidnapper was. I loved that page-turning allure, I couldn't read fast enough. The banter and sexual tension between Mercy and Ryan also helped!

The paranormal aspect doesn't overpower the novel, but there's enough of a presence to maintain fascination. You want to learn more, uncover more secrets, find out the depths of these abilities Mercy holds and the mysterious, powerful beings who are hunting her down. Lim drops just enough clues for you to begin the jigsaw of the mythology, but not enough to complete it and I sort of liked that frustrated yearning to learn more. Maybe because I knew I had the next two novels to dive into as soon as I finished haha. But don't despair, while Mercy's otherworldly ordeal still remains an enigma, the very human mystery is solved by the novels end, a dangerous and sickening unveil that will keep you glued to the pages.

Unpredictable, compelling and just a little bit creepy, Mercy's gorgeous prose and page-turning mystery make for an incredibly unique novel. There's a hint of romance, but it's satisfying enough for the romatic lover in me. I snapped open my copy of Exile the moment I finished, thanks to the torturous cliffhanger at the end! Rebecca Lim has crafted something fresh and wholly captivating. I'm excited to discover what awaits Mercy next.
4/5 Golden Apples!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In My Mailbox #20

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

Aren't the covers so pretty? They're even more gorgeous in person! I love the colours. I'm clearly on an angel kick at the moment. I dived into these as soon as I finished reading Silence. Really enjoying the series so far. Part way through Exile, so we'll see how that goes. Anyone else read them?

I'll be giving away a few copies of Muse, the third installment in the series, in November to Aussie readers. So if you're a fan, stay tuned!

What's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

You Give = We Give Update #3

To learn more about You Give = We Give, how to donate and the AMAZING prize packs you can win which include ridiculously hot titles, signed copies and ARCs, check out the main post HERE.

Books received this week for the Kmart Wishing Tree:
These are really cruddy photos, but it's overcast today so there's not much light and my camera sucks!

Huge thanks to Gabby at Harlequin Australia for donating so many fantastic books! Jess received a huge box of YA titles this week and while we're primarily collecting donations for kids/teens, I think it's great we were also sent the above adult ones. The Kmart tree collects gifts for both parents and children and it's nice to know we're helping give something to the parents too.

The Sarah Dessen novels were part of the Book Depository order from the previous update, they just arrived a little late. Money was used from the Paypal donations we received - so thank you!!

Links to each of our blogs:
Jess @ She Known As Jess BlogSpot
Brodie @ Eleusinian Mysteries
Rachel @ The Rest Is Still Unwritten

Once again, a HUGE thanks to every author, publisher, blogger and reader who has donated novels toward the Christmas tree or our giveaways. You guys are AMAZINGLY generous! And thanks a bunch to everyone who has helped advertise!

Would you like to make someone’s life a little brighter this Christmas? Then be sure to check out our event You Give = We Give, for not only the chance to give but also the chance to WIN amazing Prize Packs yourself!

It's simple. You donate a book (worth 5 entries) or money (1 entry for every $1) to help families in need this Christmas and you can win a crap ton of amazing prizes. Yes, you can win MORE than ONCE! You can send your extra books (provided they're undamaged) to us personally, purchase a book from an online retailer and have it sent to us or donate $1 or more to our Paypal account, which we will use to purchase books.

You Give = We Give will run from September 10th until December 15.
Full details can be found on our main post.

If sending a novel through an online store or personally; email us for an address to send them too:

YouGive_WeGive (AT) hotmail (DOT) com

Friday, October 21, 2011

Review: Silence

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Release Date: Already out, buy a copy!
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Add it: Goodreads
The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.

After the torturous cliffhanger that Crescendo us on, Silence picks up a few months following Nora's kidnapping. She awakens in a graveyard with no recollection of how she got there or how long she's been missing. But more terrifying, she can't remember the past five months. Gone are her memories of Nephilim and Angel, the terrible discovery of her biological father, the sacrifice's she's made.... gone are her memories of Patch.

Right from the get go, Becca hooked me in with her addictive storytelling. Even when Nora couldn't remember key parts of her life, never did it feel slow to me or annoying in having greater knowledge than the protagonist, because there were still plenty of mysteries and twists for us to uncover. Nora was proactive in trying to latch onto any leads that might help her shed light on her missing memories, which naturally led her to some dangerous situations. Patch is trying to keep her safe, keep her in the dark and away from him at first, because if she remembers, then her life could be in greater danger than it already is. But how can she let it go when there's that empty hollow in her mind? Her heart feels something, but the memories are trapped away. This leads her on a discovery to the truth, making new acquaintances, shocking discoveries and life-changing sacrifices as an all-out war threatens to erupt between Nephilim and Angels.

As the mystery unfolds and the twists deepen, the romance is as seductive as ever. The bond shared between Nora and Patch has grown stronger, closer and more breathtaking after all they've endured. Even when Nora isn't fully aware who he is, the scenes they share are fueled with spark and desire. You're on high alert, waiting for the tension to snap and for these two lovebirds to just embrace. And when they do, oh it's so worth it. Patch is more open with Nora than he's ever been before. He trusts and respects her completely and the love is so boldly clear and downright sexy. We see a more softer, affectionate, fiercely loyal side of him unearthed, which, balanced with his deadly calm and menacing promises, make for an enticing bad boy who gives us not flutters, but a spine-tingling thrill.

Many old characters resurface into deeper and more surprising roles. Scottie the Pottie, Scottie the Hottie, agh - Scott (knew I'd get there eventually!) is back and I totally fell for his charm. I'm so happy Becca chose to flesh his character out more in this installment. He becomes a true friend and ally to Nora, especially during a time when she wasn't sure who she could count on. And it must be mentioned: Hank Millar is an ass. Oh, sorry. Do you care for me to elaborate? Hank Millar is a goddamn ass. Excuse the language. He's definitely the best (and worst, in the best way...) villain we've seen so far. He's calculating and downright ruthless in his attempts to get what he wants. He has no moral compass - hell, he kidnapped and tortured his own daughter for months on end. Does it get any more unforgiving than that? I was just waiting, waiting, waiting throughout the novel for him to get taken down!

I have a major soft spot for the sexual tension and banter between in Hush, Hush, with scenes I could reread a hundred times over and still resurface with a naughty grin on my face. But Silence is now a contender for my favourite book in the series so far. Cloaked in danger, mystery, romance and secrets, Silence is a seductive novel that will lure fans old and new back into the thrilling world Becca has so effortlessly crafted. And with the way things ended, I'm toying with the idea of swearing an oath of fealty to Becca if she'll let me read the manuscript to book four!! I'm so happy this was not the final adventure in the series, because this is one story I do not want to bid farewell to anytime soon.

5/5 Golden Apples!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

You Give = We Give Author Spotlight: Sarah Alderson

Throughout the duration of You Give = We Give, Jess, Rachel and I will be spotlighting the amazing authors who have so generously donated both their time and their novels into helping make this a success. Random questions, awesome answers!

Today I'd like to welcome the smexy and talented Sarah Alderson, author of crazy awesome Hunting Lila. She also has another incredible novel, Fated, due out in January 2012.

What sort of impression does someone leave you with when they surprise you with kindness?
I once ate at an amazing Japanese restaurant in Bali. At the end of the meal the lady who owned the place came over and told us the whole meal was free (at which point I wished I'd ordered ten plates of sashimi and a few more cocktails). She did a pay it forward thing one day of every month and she asked us to pay it forward by doing 5 favours to people without any expectation of personal payback. It had a really big impact on us and we've been doing those favours - really making an effort to make them special. I try to teach my daughter that kindness is one of the most important things to cultivate because it costs nothing but it can make all the difference.

What is the name of the character you would happily jump into the book and in their arms for? Why?
I'd happily jump into Alex Fuentes arms from Perfect Chemistry. Yes please. Do I really need to explain. He's insanely hot.

What type of world do you long to live in?
A just one. A world where every child receives a decent education and where women are treated with equality. A world without cruelty or violence and filled with love. I'm a total hippy at heart. That's why I live in Bali. It's hippy central here.

If you bought a fish, seriously a fish, what would you name it?
I had two fish at uni and we called them Buffy and Angel. Buffy ate Angel. Then she died a week later.

Is there a movie that makes you want to cry but you hold back the tears to watch the ending, only to explode?
The last film I sobbed my eyeballs out in was 'I've loved you so long.' It 's a French movie and seriously I have never cried like that in a film before ever. Once you have a child you find you can cry in a way you've never cried before. It unlocks some deep seated fear in you that can see you reduced you to a crying hysterical wreck.

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever. Or thereabouts.After a mugging on the streets of South London goes horribly wrong and exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them. Trying to uncover the truth of why her mother was killed, and the real remit of The Unit, Lila becomes a pawn in a dangerous game. Struggling to keep her secrets in a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers -and her mother's killer is one of them...

Add Hunting Lila to Goodreads
Buy a copy at Book Depository or Amazon
Pre-order Fated at Book Depository or Amazon
Find Sarah at: Website / Twitter / Blog / Facebook

If you'd like to chance to win a copy of Hunting Lila and dozens of other amazing books, then please check out the You Give = We Give post for all the details. Each donation counts toward making a child's Christmas that much brighter this year!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #32

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: Andrew Fukuda
Release Date: May 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Add it: Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Gene struggles to survive in a society where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. When Gene is chosen to participate in the government-sponsored hunt for the remaining humans, he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow hunters whose suspicions about his true human nature are growing.

Author: Galaxy Craze
Release Date: May 8th 2012
Publisher: Poppy
Add it: Goodreads
In the year 2090, after the third world war has left the most developed of nations in ruin, England is a barren land. The last trees live in the courtyard of Buckingham Palace, food is rationed, oil has destroyed the oceans, poverty is at an all-time low and discontent is rising to a fever pitch. Hatred of the royals is strong and revolution lurks just around the corner.

The first strike came when Princess Eliza Windsor was just a little girl and her mother, the queen, fell victim to poison in the hands of a sneering young revolutionary, Cornelius Hollister. After many years of living in fear, Eliza is sixteen when Hollister strikes again, destroying her family even further, killing her father and kidnapping her older sister and younger brother, and forcing her to flee into London's dangerous streets.

With a mind for revenge and the safe recovery of her siblings - including her older sister, Mary, England's future queen - Eliza joins the rebel forces in disguise. Masquerading as a loyal member of the Tudor army, Eliza has her first taste of independence and it is here that she finds love... with the son of the man who would see her dead.

The Hunt: CREEPTASTIC!! Please tell me why the synopsis gives me a thrill. Okay, no, the idea of eating humans does not excite me (hello, vegan here!) but it sounds like such a scary world to live in. And will no doubt make for a thrilling, intense, terrifying novel. I know a lot of people compare dystopian novels to the likes of The Hunger Games - but it sort of does remind you of it, doesn't it? Not the eating part, but the hunt against humans sponsored by none other than the government. I am going to LOVE this!

The Last Princess: Another dystopian! Must be the theme of the day. Very excited for this one also. I love the whole starcrossed lovers, girl/boy on opposite sides, forbidden temptation, all that deliciously exciting stuff. It sounds like it will be a dangerous ride for poor Eliza, pretending to be part of the enemy ranks, but hopefully an edge-of-your-seat journey for the reader!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Lips Touch, Three Times

Author: Laini Taylor
Illustrator: Jim Di Bartolo
Release Date: Already out, buy a copy!
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Add it: Goodreads
A girl who’s always been in the shadows finds herself pursued by the unbelievably attractive new boy at school, who may or may not be the death of her. Another girl grows up mute because of a curse placed on her by a vindictive spirit, and later must decide whether to utter her first words to the boy she loves and risk killing everyone who hears her if the curse is real. And a third girl discovers that the real reason for her transient life with her mother has to do with belonging — literally belonging — to another world entirely, full of dreaded creatures who can transform into animals, and whose queen keeps little girls as personal pets until they grow to childbearing age.

From a writer of unparalleled imagination and emotional insight, three stories about the deliciousness of wanting and waiting for that moment when lips touch.
There was no doubt in my mind that I would enjoy reading this after the highly intimate love affair I shared with Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Laini Taylor has been blessed with an otherworldly mind. It's her breathtaking ability to make writing an art - she's not just telling a story, she's creating a masterpiece. She can turn the most mundane of words into something rare and precious. It's not just her prose that I have come to adore, but also her imagination. I don't think I've quite read anything like the mythology she weaves into her stories. From Smoke and Bone to the awe-inspiring Hatchling, I am blown away by the depth and sheer creativity

Three stories. Three different meanings behind three kinds of kisses. Three times your heart will fall in love, despair and conflict.

Goblin Fruit: Kizzy has spent her entire life watching from the sidelines, yearning for something more to fill her. It's the power of wanting so bad that the consequences don't matter anymore. Would you give into the temptation of something you have ached for your entire life, just for that one moment of utter joy and happiness, even if meant your death? This was the shortest of all, but perhaps the one with the most humour, as each story grows progressively more darker. Oh, don't despair. There is plenty of dark here among the soul-snatching goblins and the lure of forbidden fruit, but the interactions between Kizzy and her friends had me laughing many times!

Spicy Little Curses Such as These: Oh, how I would have loved to see this turned into a novel-length story. Laini executed it perfectly, but I wanted more. I was so taken by Estella's story and the weighted decisions she must make on a daily basis - all while sipping tea with a sadistic demon in the pits of Hell. She was forced to place a curse on Anamique when she was just a baby. If the girl murmurs a sound, it will kill anyone in the near vicinity. But while her voice may curse those around her, the silence has cursed her own life as she's grown into womanhood. Forcing her to withdraw into herself, hide in the shadows while those around her mock and jeer the 'dumb mute'. Until. A young soldier finds her diary and discovers the beautiful, intelligent girl hiding within and so begins a romance that will capture your heart in it's honesty, it's sweetness. And it's tragedy. This is a story of first loves and the lengths you'll go to save those loves. And it's a story of consequence. For every action, there is a reaction, a give and a take.

Hatchling: This one stole my breath away. This is the longest and by far, the most richly explored and darkest of all three stories. The mythology is nothing short of amazing. The world of the Druj and what poor, helplessly human Mab endured as a small child at the hands of the Queen were shocking and brutal. Your heart has no choice but to reach out to the victims of this cruel and downright creepy world. We witness Mab's heartbreaking story and how she escaped their clutches with a baby in tow. We journey along with her daughter, Esme, who's changing in terrifying ways and may be snatched back to the horrific world her mother has so longed for her to never witness. And we delve into the fascinating and scary history of the Druj, where Laini decides to twist everything you thought you felt and craft such an emotionally complicated story. She makes you feel an understanding for the 'villains' and - perhaps - a twinge of sympathy for their own plight. Just... WOW. Nothing is ever as it seems when it comes to this author, she keeps adding layer upon layer and then digs 20ft underground to find more hidden layers to shock you with.

Running through each story is a fragile thread of hope. Hope of being someone else, having something more. Hope of emerging from the shadows and showing your true potential to the world. Hope of protecting those you love from the horrors you faced yourself. Hope of finding your humanity.

Laini Taylor and Jim Bartolo. Author and Illustrator. Wife and husband. The ultimate dream team. The accompanying art by Jim for each story is absolutely beautiful. The art doesn't spoil the story, rather tempts and captivates your mind and doesn't fully make sense until you've finished reading. Her words, his art - they make for a truly magical use of ink and paper that demands a special place in your bookshelf.

Lips Touch transports you to a magical world where live goblins and temptation, love and curses, demons and stolen children and the scary power of longing for something you're not fully aware of.

Rating: 5/5 Golden Apples!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In My Mailbox #19

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

SILENCE! So excited to dive into this! I've read some gushing reviews already and cannot wait to see how it all plays out. And yes, I am in need of a fresh dosage of our favourite sexy winged bad boy. I haven't read the other books in the Drake Chronicles yet, but I've heard good things. So hopefully/maybe I can get around to them eventually.

Snagged Lips Touch from the library since Daughter of Smoke and Bone was so freaking amazing. I flicked through the book and wow, the artwork is incredible. I swear, the talent shared between Laini and her husband is illegal in at least 6 different worlds.

What's in your mailbox this week?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: The Name of the Star

Author: Maureen Johnson
Release Date: Already out, buy a copy!
Publisher: HarperCollins
Add it: Goodreads
The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.
London is once again swept up in a flurry of fear, murder investigations and media frenzy as a gruesome and horrific history begins to repeat itself. Jack the Ripper has returned. Or at least, someone imitating his work. The same day the copycat murders begin is when Rory Deveaux arrives in London for her senior year at Wexford Academy. Whether it's fate or sheer bad luck that finds her journey beginning the same day as a twisted murderer's, Rory is certainly in for one chaotic year and a life changing discovery that will sweep her up in a dangerous and exciting new life of the living and non-living.

I enjoyed reading from Rory's perspective. She has this down-to-earth, 'average teenager' vibe. Someone you could easily find yourself hanging out with every day. There's little quirks to her that make her all the more endearing and she has such a fun personality. I adored the glimpses into her colourful family back home in New Orleans. From Uncle Will and the eight freezers in his spare bedroom to Aunt Diane and her Healing Angel Ministry. I would love to see her visit home again, if only for a short time. I'm not really sure if that's an option in future novels, but it would be so much fun to visit her family!

However, the characters who do surround Rory amidst the terror of the Ripper killings are definitely a stellar cast. Boo was a particular favourite of mine, she makes her entrance as a new student halfway through the novel and not only brings a riot of energy and laughs but yet another added mystery as Rory and her roommate, Jazza, try to decode Boo's baffling and slightly suspicious personality.  There is a very light smattering of romance between Rory and Jerome. While I didn't feel that 'spark' between the pair, I enjoyed their friendship.

I found the paranormal aspect compelling and can't wait to delve further into that lore in following books. It blended in well amongst the humour and fearful, yet morbidly excited air running thick through London. People are scared, but they're also sort of thrilled at this piece of history repeating, that still manages to confound media and authorities years on. There was one issue for me, while not huge, it's more of a minor pet peeve. When we finally reach that showdown at the end, only to have the villain launch into a long monologue detailing his motives and how he did this and that. Everyone is standing around waiting for him to finish his story, despite a character in peril and they only spring into action once he's conveniently finished. Now don't get me wrong, the villain and his actions did intrigue me, but these dialogues often pull me away from the story. I know it's necessary information for the readers to learn, but in reality, who's going to stand around listening to the life story of a guy who's openly admitted he's about to murder you in a minute? It wasn't enough to deter me from the overall enjoyment of the story, just a small annoyance!

The Name of the Star was a thrilling start to what will no doubt shape up to be a highly entertaining series. Mystery, murder and mayhem haunt the streets of London as old terrors resurface and a teenager girl with a special ability finds herself caught in the middle of the terrifying chaos. A perfect blend of humour, suspense, history and supernatural which will appeal to all those fascinated by Jack the Ripper or else just in the mood for something fresh and captivating.

4/5 Golden Apples!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday #31

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: James Dawson
Release Date: February 2nd 2012
Publisher: Indigo Paperbacks
Add it: Goodreads
Lis London moves to Hollow Pike looking for a fresh start. She's intrigued by the town's sinister history of witchcraft, ritual and witchfinders. But when a fellow teen is murdered in the woods in what appears to be a ritual killing, Lis starts to wonder whether the witches are really history after all...Who is the mysterious figure caught on camera in the trees at the time of the murder? Could he be the killer? And do Lis's ominous nightmares of being murdered in the forest mean that she might be the next to die?

Author: Michael Grant
Release Date: February 28th 2012
Publisher: Egmont USA
Add it: Goodreads
The most breathtaking and exhilarating ride you will take this year, this is the first in an incredible new action thriller series from Michael Grant, author of "Gone". These are no ordinary soldiers. This is no ordinary war. Welcome to the nano, where the only battle is for sanity. Losing is not an option when a world of madness is at stake. Time is running out for the good guys. But what happens when you don't know who the good guys really are? Noah and Sadie: newly initiated to an underground cell so covert that they don't even know each other's names. Here they will learn what it means to fight on a nano level. Soon they will become the deadliest warriors the world has ever seen. Vincent: feels nothing, cares for no one; fighting his own personal battle with Bug Man, the greatest nano warrior alive. The Armstrong Twins: wealthy, privileged, and fanatical. Are they the saviours of mankind or authors of the darkest conspiracy the world has ever seen? The nano is uncharted territory. A terrifying world of discovery. And everything is to play for..

Hollow Pike: I really like the cover for this and it sort of has a creepy vibe going on. Witchcraft, rituals, killings and nightmares of your own murder? I am SO there!

BRZK: I'm sure many of you heard the buzz a few weeks around surrounding Michael Grant's new transmedia experience. I love the sound of BZRK and I think it'll be pretty cool that you become immersed in this creepy new world in both book form and online. Can't wait to see how it all plays out!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Stay With Me

Author: Paul Griffin
Release Date: Already out, buy a copy!
Publisher: Text Publishing
Add it: Goodreads
An urban romance that will capture your soul, break your heart, and restore your faith in the human spirit

Fifteen-year-olds Cece and Mack didn't expect to fall in love. She's a sensitive A student; he's a high school dropout. But soon they're spending every moment together, bonding over a rescued dog, telling their secrets, making plans for the future. Everything is perfect. Until. Until. Mack makes a horrible mistake, and in just a few minutes, the future they'd planned becomes impossible. In this stark new reality, both of them must find meaning and hope in the memories of what they had, to survive when the person they love can't stay.

From award-winning writer Paul Griffin, Stay with Me is both heartbreaking and uplifting, filled with characters (both dog and human) that will forever change the way you look at the world.

I went into this book expecting a romance akin to Alex and Brittany in Perfect Chemistry. Good girl/bad boy, starcrossed lovers, etc. I was wrong. While I love that book, Stay With Me completely blew me away. It surprised me in this most moving way possible. It is a story of first loves and growing up, dealing with the consequences of your actions and finding redemption in even your darkest moments. It's honestly one of the most touching novels I've read in a long time.

Mack broke my heart. His confidence has been beaten down so damn much. He's lived a hard life and it's rare that this kid has ever caught a break, even believed in himself or had reason to truly be happy. But he has an amazing heart. He might not be able to spell a word correctly or know where exactly Boston is, but if he was down to his last penny, he'd give it to you if you needed it. He has an incredible bond with dogs. No matter how broken a dog is, Mack Morse can fix him. And gosh, I adored Céce. She's funny and strong and loyal and insecure, but not in a annoying way - it's so sweet and she's such a  relatable character.

Paul Griffin is a stunning writer. His prose, storytelling and ability to dig deep into the heart of a character is incredible. Céce and Mack are two of the most dynamic protagonists I've read. On paper, they couldn't be more different. But when Céce's brother, Anthony, pushes these two teens together, a beautiful seed of love is planted and it grows into something so breathtaking and pure. And we're swept up in this sweet romance between two unlikely teenagers. Until... everything changes. Mack does something terrible and what follows is a heartbreaking story of redemption. Céce and Mack shared something special and rare before a darkness came and ripped it apart. But there is always  hope, always forgiveness. Things will never be the same as they once were, but life goes on and you have to learn to make the best of what's left behind in the wreckage.

I was sobbing like crazy when I finished reading this and it's still playing on my mind days after. It's tragic and uplifting and so remarkably genuine. These characters touched me in a way I wasn't prepared for. I laughed out loud at some of the interactions between characters or else their quirks, like Céce's endearing belief in her ESP They are so lovable and honest and flawed - every single one wormed their way into my heart. Mack and Céce the most, but the secondary ones just as much. From Carmella and her holiday themed cornbread that nobody actually likes, Tony's ever insistent belief in the human spirit, Vic's 'all-knowing' and Boo. Oh god. Boo. I want that creampuff of a dog.

Stay With Me is raw, it's beautiful, it's gritty. It's not a fairytale, it's a honest depiction of something that could easily happen in life and Paul Griffin has captured it's essence with true heart. These are the kind of books that set a whole new bar for contemporary fiction. It will move you and force you to see the world in a whole new light. People do bad things, but does it always mean they're bad people?

Please do not let this one pass you by, you'd truly be missing out on a rare gem of a book!

5/5 Golden Apples!

You can also check out Lisa's amazing review at Read Me, Bookmark Me, Love Me. When she told me she pretty much bawled her eyes out over this, I knew I had to read it!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

In My Mailbox #18

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

I was interested in reading Stay With Me, but then Lisa coerced me into reading it NOW and oh my god. Lisa, you're reimbursing me a box of tissues. Well, I used my clothes to wipe my tear-streaked face and snotty nose, so you owe me a new shirt LOL. It was incredible and such a touching novel. HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT..

Excited to start The Name of the Star, have heard great things about it! I've read mixed reviews on After Obsession, but the plot does sound intriguing, so we'll see how it goes.

What's in your mailbox this week?

You Give = We Give Update #2

First up, we've added a ton more books to the prize packs! Including delightfully squee-ful novels such as The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, A Witch In Winter, Die For Me, The Pledge, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Destiny's Fire, The Shattering.... um, want me to go on? Or would you rather check them out for yourself? Head on over to the main post HERE and see the updated prizes! Plus find out how we're using your donations and the ways in which you can gain entries.

Books received this week for the Kmart Tree:
Huge thanks to Harper Collins for both copies of A Need So Beautiful and Jennifer Archer for donating two signed copies of her novel, Through Her Eyes! The rest are mine, either extra copies of books I already own (I could never part with my own copy of Divergent!!) or else books I won't get around to reading. May pop i some extra ones as I go through my shelves. There are a couple of adult ones in there and while we're hosting this event mainly for teens/kids, the tree accepts presents for parents too, so I thought I'd throw those in!

Thanks to Simon Hayes for generously donating a copy of his novel, Hal Junior: The Secret Signal! The rest, all picture/middle grade books, were bought from The Book Depository using some of the money donated by some of you wonderful readers!! <3

Links to each of our blogs:
Jess @ She Known As Jess BlogSpot
Brodie @ Eleusinian Mysteries
Rachel @ The Rest Is Still Unwritten

Once again, a HUGE thanks to every author, publisher, blogger and reader who has donated novels toward the Christmas tree or our giveaways. You guys are AMAZINGLY generous! And thanks a bunch to everyone who has helped advertise!

Would you like to make someone’s life a little brighter this Christmas? Then be sure to check out our event You Give = We Give, for not only the chance to give but also the chance to WIN amazing Prize Packs yourself!

It's simple. You donate a book (worth 5 entries) or money (1 entry for every $1) to help families in need this Christmas and you can win a crap ton of amazing prizes. Yes, you can win MORE than ONCE! You can send your extra books (provided they're undamaged) to us personally, purchase a book from an online retailer and have it sent to us or donate $1 or more to our Paypal account, which we will use to purchase books.

You Give = We Give will run from September 10th until December 15.
Full details can be found on our main post.

If sending a novel through an online store or personally; email us for an address to send them too:

YouGive_WeGive (AT) hotmail (DOT) com

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Australian Publishers Rock

It must be said - Australia publishers? THEY ARE AWESOME. They're crazy nice to us bloggers and they're always doing something insanely fun to help promote our favourite YA books. So I'm doing a little round-up of some events/promotions Aussie pubs have going at the moment that you should totally check out.

First off, fans of the Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick, spread your wings and prepare for a sinful night. The Black Hand Ball is being held in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. You can meet Becca, join in on a Q&A, get your books signed, hang out with hot fallen angels, receive a special message from Patch, meet the editor of Dolly, dance the night away, eat yummy food, win yummy stuff and most importantly: have fun and hang out with fellow fans!! Seriously, how awesome does it sound? All the details can be found at:

It will be held in December and tickets are on sale now. So hurry and make sure you don't miss out!

They've also launched a new Facebook page called Read Me, Love Me, Share Me where you can find all the latest news on their new and upcoming YA novels. They'll be posting chapters, teasing us with cover previews, sharing reviews, hottest titles and all that stuff that makes us book lovers go weak at the knees.

To kick things off, they have a cool quiz you can take to find the book you'll most fall in love with. I got Silence. I did not sway the quiz. Why would you accuse me of such crimes? Hellooooooooo Patch *seductive purr* Ahem. What did you guys get??

The awesome folks at Harlequin Teen Australia have an amazing competition through the Girlfriend website. Not only can you win an iPad2 preloaded with the hottest HarlequinTeen titles, but the chance to interview Julie Kagawa (author of The Iron Fey series) which will be posted on their site! Don't tell me you wouldn't want to win. AU residents only.  To enter, head on over to Girlfriend. Then stalk their Facebook.

Between The Lines, Penguin Australia's corner of the web for all their deliciously tantalising YA books, want to know your opinion on the good and bad cliches of YA. So head on over to share your thoughts. Their posts are always fun and engaging or just downright teasing (reading the proof pages for Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood? YEAH. WE'RE NOT JEALOUS). You can also check out their Facebook Page.

And finally, Date A Book are ALWAYS holding amazing giveaways. This time, they're giving away the entire Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter in preparation for the 2012 release of Out of Sight, Out of Time! I've read the first book and can't wait to dive into the rest. They're so much fun! I definitely recommend reading. Check out their Facebook Page and the Enter The Giveaway!
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