Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #38

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: Ann Kelley
Release Date: July 10th 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Add it: Goodreads
No parents. No rules. No way home.

Fourteen-year-old Bonnie MacDonald couldn't be more excited for a camping trip on an island off the coast of Thailand with her fellow Amelia Earhart Cadets-the daughters of the men and women stationed there during the Vietnam War. But when a strong current deposits the girls on what their boatman calls the "forbidden island," things take a turn for the worse: A powerful storm comes to destroy their campsite, the smallest of the junior cadets is found dead, and their boatman never returns. What once seemed like a vacation in paradise has become a battle against the elements.

Peppered with short, frantic entries from Bonnie's journal, Lost Girls is a page-turning, heart-pounding adventure story about a group of teen girls fighting for their lives

Author: Emmy Laybourne
Release Date: July 3rd 2012
Publisher: Fiewel and Friends
Add it: Goodreads

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

A huge store isn’t the worst place to be stranded. There’s food and water, bedding and books. But what if it’s not safe to leave? Emmy Laybourne had us from the get-go with her utterly fresh and fast-paced debut.

Six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids are trapped together in a chain superstore. Together they build a refuge for themselves inside, while outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapon spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

Lost Girls: I love these kind of survival stories. A group of teen girls trapped on a 'forbidden island' with no way off? Um, awesome. I am really eager to see how these girls shape into survivors when braving the fierce environment around them...... well, from whoever makes it out alive, that is :|

Monument 14: Again, another story with a group of trapped kids who must fight to survive (clearly I was unintentionally channeling a theme when I chose these books). A much better place to be stuck together though, a chainstore full of food rather than an island, but I don't imagine the stakes will be any lower. Monster hailstorm? Chemical weapon spill? Scary!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: Under the Never Sky

Author: Veronica Rossi
Release Date: Dec 2011 AUS / Jan 3rd US / Feb 7th UK
Publisher: Murdoch Books AU / HarperTeen US / ATOM UK
Add it: Goodreads

Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

In her enthralling debut, Veronica Rossi sends readers on an unforgettable adventure set in a world brimming with harshness and beauty.
Aria lives in Reverie, where lives are predominantly lived through a Smarteye that can transport you to any virtual realm. You can go anywhere, do anything, possess any talent you desire and never have to feel pain. Perry lives on the Outside, where pain is an almost everyday thing. Land is divided up amongst tribes, food is scarce and danger is a constant companion. Whether from those on opposing tribes or from the sky above, where electrifying energy known as aether swirls constantly and could strike out in a deadly storm at any time. After Aria is wrongly accused of a crime in Reverie, she is exiled to Perry's world. With no skills, weapons or food and only the terrifying myths she's heard of the Savages who populate the lands, Aria knows she won't survive long. Until Perry finds her and so an extremely reluctant agreement is made between two people whose aversion to one another screams from the pages. But they need the other's help in order to each find the person they love the most, so they're going to have to suck up their differences and together fight their way under the never sky.

Aria has this bright curiosity that is so amusing to read from Perry's perspective, because while she is a girl of many words, he is a boy of few... and would prefer her to be that way too. I loved seeing his internal reactions toward her. Aria really grew into a strong young woman throughout the course of the novel. From a frightened, desperate girl thrust into a scary, unknown world to a knife-wielding survivor. And she was just so likable! I loved being inside her head just as much as I did Perry's. She has genuine personality and that's why I found myself so taken by her.

Veronica knows how to write her men. Peregrine... oh, Perry! I am in love. He is a beautiful beast of a boy, with a scary, intimidating exterior that belies the sweet, complex guy that lay within. His heart, humour and courage made my insides all kinds of toasty warm. He's a compelling mystery you want to uncover, but slowly, so slowly, so you can enjoy every breathtaking layer. And Roar. ROAR! Don't you just love his name? And I promise, you will love the gorgeous man attached to it. He's this bright, charming spark that I don't think anyone could possibly find reason to dislike. Best friend to Perry, these two make for an awesome team <3

Under the Never Sky has written one of the best romances I've had the joy of discovering. The slow burning attraction between Aria and Perry will drive you crazy and to me, that is the best kind. It's a relationship that begins with prejudice and fear and animosity and slowly morphs into a beautiful creation of mutual respect, trust, strength and desire. They have that zing of chemistry that is likely what's causing those aether storms in the first place. Narrative switches back and forth between them both and I found myself anaylsing every action the current narrator did, wondering and guessing what the other was really thinking about it. I could not get enough of these two!

My expectations were high going into this, but Veronica Rossi shattered them into a billion pieces. She so effortlessly draws you into this bewitching world where exist two vastly different realities, so intriguing in their own ways and so unlike our own, but at heart it's the pure emotion that is familiar, so easy to relate to. The characters are deep and tangible. Perry, Aria, Roar, Cinder, Talon... they each leap off the page with ferocity. They will make you laugh and gasp and devastate your heart with their pain and sorrow, haunting you long after you close the cover. The adventure they lead you on will keep you poised on the tips of your toes and draw every sense of your being into their compelling journey.

Under the Never Sky is a mesmerising debut that will be read again and again and again. The kind of world you will lose yourself in so completely. It is incredible in every sense of the word. A world so amazingly crafted, an adventure so thrilling, with a mystery that will captivate and characters you never want to part ways with, Veronica has written a knockout debut that has already cemented itself was one of my new favourite novels.

5/5 Golden Apples!

Monday, November 28, 2011

2012 Author Interview & Giveaway: Cat Patrick!

You still have a little time to enter to win an ARC of COLD FURY by T.M Goeglein! I'll end the giveaway Monday 28st November 11:59pm US EST. Hurry!

Introducing apocalyptic author #3 -  an incredibly talented writer who will not be soon Forgotten, even if she's gobbled up by zombies... Cat Patrick!

Why should Santa fill every stocking this year with a copy of Forgotten?
That would be so nice of him! Well, in my humble opinion, FORGOTTEN’s a great gender-neutral crossover book that appeals to readers of all ages. What’s more, it offers both romance and mystery to keep those pages turning.

What is the best or worst Christmas gift you've ever received?
I found out I was having twins just before Christmas 2007: That was the best gift ever.

What's been your favourite YA novel of 2011?
Hmm…a 2011 debut or just one I read in 2011? For the former, I’d have to say Divergent by Veronica Roth. That one kept me up late at night, dying to know what was going to happen. For the latter, The Maze Runner by James Dashner. It was so gripping from the first page to the last—it launched in 2009 but I only just read it and I’m so glad I did.

(That made me seem dystopia-obsessed. I also loved The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, and the sweet Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker, which comes out in January.)

And your most desperately needed of 2012?
I’m looking forward to reading the sequels to Beth Revis’s Across the Universe and Veronica Roth’s Divergent. On the adult front, I can’t wait for what’s next from Patrick Rothfuss.

Do you have any plans to survive and/or fight in the 2012 Apocalypse? (this covers any apocalyptic belief-system... zombies, aliens, mother nature seeking revenge, assassin automatons, Klaus and his hybrids from The Vampire Diaries, etc).
At the moment, I’m planning to stick to reading, not writing, dystopian novels. However, I do worry about zombie attacks in real life on an (alarmingly) regular basis.

Cat is the author of 2011 debut novel, FORGOTTEN and has a second novel coming out in 2012, REVIVED.
As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger — and more sinister — than she ever imagined.
I remember forwards. I remember forwards, and forget backwards. My memories, bad, boring, or good, haven't happened yet. So I will remember standing in the fresh-cut grass with the black-clad figures surrounded by stone until I do it for real. I will remember the funeral until it happens - until someone dies. And after that, it will be forgotten. Here's the thing about me: I can see my future, but my past is blank. I see the future in flashes, like memories. I remember what I'll wear tomorrow, and a car crash that won't happen till this afternoon. But yesterday has evaporated from my mind - just like the boy I love. I can't see him in my future. I can't remember him from my past. But today, I love him. And I never want to forget how much.

Revived is released May 8th 2012 by Little Brown US / Hardie Grant AU
Forgotten is already out in bookstores!
Follow Cat's website / blog / twitter / facebook 

Want to win a copy of FORGOTTEN?

Thanks to Cat's amazing publicist, Jennifer, at Hardie Grant Australia, I have one copy of Cat's incredible debut FORGOTTEN to giveaway, plus she's throwing in a handful of Forgotten heart shaped post-it notes!

  • Open to Australian and New Zealand residents (next week will be another international giveaway!)
  • To gain an entry, you only need fill out your name and email.
  • Ends 5th December 2011 at 11:59pm.
  • All winners will be posted in January.
Extra Entries:
  • +2 Add Forgotten or Revived to Goodreads (or whatever book networking site you use, LibraryThing, etc).
  • +2 Advertise this giveaway anywhere.
  • +3 Add the giveaway button to your site (button and code can be found on my sidebar).

    Giveaway has now closed and the winner has been contacted. All weekly winners will be posted in early January once the event is over!

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    In My Mailbox #25

    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.


    SQUEEEE!! Excuse my fangirling, but I am SO freaking excited to read those. I'd begun reading another book, but as soon as got UTNS, I had to put it on hold. I had no choice in the matter, Veronica Rossi has mad compulsion skills. I've only read a little so far, but... LOVE. I'm equally as excited to read A Witch In Winter, the early reviews starting to come in are just raving about this book and I know I will love it!

    I read and reviewed Crave a while ago, but HarlequinTeen sent me a finished copy. Not sure which cover I prefer, the above, which is the Australian or the US cover. They're both gorgeous! Maybe the US, by a little.

    Annnnd Nikita!! I'm ashamed to admit this (particular since Andie might be reading) but I missed a few random episodes in the beginning of season 1, so I grabbed this from the library to catch up. I plan to buy my own copy soon, because I LOVE this show. Season two has been amazing so far <3

    What's in your mailbox this week?

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Review: Crossed

    Author: Ally Condie
    Release Date: Already out, buy a copy!
    Publisher: Penguin
    Add it: Goodreads
    The hotly awaited second book in the dystopian Matched trilogy

    In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

    Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

    Crossed picks up where Matched left us in torment. Ky is now being forced to work in the Outer Provinces, the danger of attacks by the Enemy a constant fear. Cassia is on a 3 month work detail, secretly using this in hopes of finding Ky. Both enduring grim, labouring days... until they manage to escape their groups. Both on the run, so close, yet still so far away from one another. Each accompanied by fresh allies, they journey through the Carving in search for one another. In search for love and purpose and answers, but will they find what they're looking for before it's too late?

    I absolutely loved Matched, so I was expecting big things from Crossed. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. It's much more slower-paced than it's predecessor and while slow journeys aren't really a problem for me, I just didn't feel as though much happened. There is definitely emotional developments and some new things come to light about the Society, but I found the lack of action, suspense and plot progression a little disappointing.

    While it wasn't as involving and forward-moving as I'd hoped, I did love that we got to see more of Ky this time around. There was a note from Ally in the beginning of the book and what she said certainly rings true – this is Ky’s story just as much as it is Cassia’s. Yes, there are some struggles and conflicts that Cassia must also deal with, but Crossed begins to chip away at the mystery of Ky. We explore deeper into his past, peel back the emotional layers and gain a greater understanding of what shapes this beautiful, tormented boy. Although sometimes, mostly when he and Cassia are in the same place, I found myself confusing their chapters. Each chapter switches narrative and their voices are incredibly similar, so if I wasn't paying attention to the change of a new chapter, a few paragraphs into the next one I was thinking, 'Huh? Why is Ky hugging himself? Oops, it's Cassia's POV!' haha.

    Cassia is still torn between Ky and Xander and you can see why she feels this way. Her feelings for both boys are well developed, even if there is really no question that Ky is the boy she ought to be with! I do give props to Xander though, he’s a nice guy and while he doesn’t play a huge role in the sequel, he still makes enough of an impact to be seen as a potential threat (but really, we all know she'll end up with Ky.... right?!), not to mention Xander is hiding a few secrets of his own. The love between Cassia and Ky deepens and becomes more complicated and intricate, as love does.

    While I didn’t love it as much as the first, I still enjoyed the emotional journey Crossed took our main characters on, especially Ky. Ally Condie once again uses the power and beauty of words to inspire, to motivate, to show love and regret and pain. And to incite rebellion, a rebellion that is simmering beneath the surface and will hopefully ignite into an explosive finale.

    3/5 Golden Apples

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Waiting On Wednesday #37

    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: Rachel Carter
    Release Date: July 10th 2012
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Add it: Goodreads
    So Close to You brims with the compelling “what if” mysteries surrounding The Time Traveler’s Wife and all of the the action and creepy government experiments of The Maze Runner—and, in a new twist, presents a piercing look at a dark period in history and imagines what changes could have produced an utterly different world...and what one girl would do to stop it.

    Lydia Bentley has heard stories about the Montauk Project all her life: stories about the experiments that took place at the abandoned military base near her home and the people who’ve disappeared over the years. When she stumbles into a vessel that transports her to a dangerous and strange new reality, Lydia realizes that all the stories she’s ever heard about the Montauk Project are true—and that she’s in the middle of one of the most dangerous experiments in history.

    Alongside Wes, a darkly mysterious boy whom she is wary to trust, Lydia begins to unravel the secrets surrounding the project. But the truths behind these secrets force her to question all her choices. And if Lydia chooses wrong, she might not save her family but destroy them...and herself. 

    Author: Wesley King
    Release Date: June 14th 2012
    Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
    Add it: Goodreads
    Led by the sinister Baron, the Vindico are a group of super villains who have been fighting against the League of Heroes for as long as they can remember. The Vindico kidnap a group of teenagers and train them to be the next generation. Mysteriously arriving at the Baron’s mansion together, James, Lana, Hayden, Emily and Sam are forced to train with their mentors and given powers beyond their wildest dreams. While struggling to uncover the motives of this evil group, the teens learn to trust each other and even form friendships. They plan to rebel against their mentors as soon as they are deemed ready to fight against the League of Heroes, but then they learn things may not be as cut-and-dry as they seem: both in their new roles and in their outside lives.

    So Close To You: Most dangerous experiment in history? See, when they use words like that, they're just begging for test subjects. So intrigued by this!! The Montauk Projectis sure to present a lot of questions, a lot of secrets and a heck of a lot of awesomeness. Add in a darkly mysterious boy and I am very much desperate for this book.

    The Vindico: SUPERHEROES! What? I like superheroes and villains! Who doesn't? Oh.... you? Well, you're obviously one of the evil Baron's minions then and don't want the real story to get out. Me and my badss superhero friends are onto you.... Anyway, I'm really excited for this! LOVE the idea of this in a YA novel.

    What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Review: Cold Kiss

    Author: Amy Garvey
    Release Date: Already out, order a copy!
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Add it: Goodreads
    It was a beautiful, warm summer day, the day Danny died.

    Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants—what she must do—is to bring Danny back.

    But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.

    Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her—and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.

    But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought—even if it means breaking her heart all over again.
    If you had the power to bring back a loved one, would you do it? Wren did. When her boyfriend, Danny Greer, was killed in a tragic car accident, Wren used her extraordinary powers to bring him back to life. But it didn't go exactly as she planned.  Danny was different. He was cold. Obsessive. A little scary. It was Wren who returned him to life and so it was Wren who Danny felt tethered to. Unable to think of anyone, anything else, unable to function unless he had her. It was an obsessive need spurred by the dark magic she used to bring him back and it was tragic to see what this had done to Danny, in comparison to the boy he once was.

    I liked that Wren could recognise her mistakes and while she wasn't entirely sure how to fix them, she realised she needed to find a way and she was proactive in that. Despite the grief over losing Danny again, she knew he wasn't the same boy she fell in love with. I adored Danny. The breathing, artistic, laughing Danny, not the undead one. Through flashbacks, we got to see the boy that Wren fell in love with and it was understandable to see why she did what she did - out of love and desperation, because he was a boy that glowed with life and they were so in love. It tore her apart when he died. The flashbacks of living Danny were beautiful in colour, while the reality of Undead Danny were shocking in their strokes of black and gray. Wren made a mistake bringing him back and she knows it, but that doesn't make it any easier.

    Gabriel was the new boy in town, but that's not all that's different about him. He also has abilities of his own and can sense the power that lay within Wren. I liked both these characters as individuals, but when a romance began to develop between them, I just didn't buy it. I couldn't feel that chemistry or attraction. I felt they would have been better off as friends and just focus on Wren dealing with Danny.

    I do wish we could have learnt more about Wren's family and their magic. Obviously the main point of this novel was the emotional journey for Wren, learning how to let go and grieve, because she hasn't exactly done that in the most healthiest of ways and now she's in an even bigger mess because of it. But when magic and powers like these are involved, I love delving deep into the how and why and history of it all and we only skimmed the surface. The lack of information on the magic and the disbelieving romance were the only things I was slightly disappointed over.

    Cold Kiss isn't an explosive, action-packed tale, but a quietly powerful journey of love. Of first love and the pain of losing that love and of what you do after. You can never forget, but you have to learn to move on, for yourself and the one you're holding onto. Amy Garvey paints it all with beautiful prose that draws you into this touching journey.

     3.5/5 Golden Apples!

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    2012 Author Interview & Giveaway: T.M Goeglein!

    Christmas is coming. So is the Apocalypse. So let's bring in the doomsday year in style! Each week leading up to the new year, a 2012 author will answer a short interview and generously give away a copy of their book!

    You still have a little time to enter to win an ARC of Article 5 by Kristen Simmons! I'll end the giveaway Monday 21st November 11:59pm US EST. Hurry!

    Introducing apocalyptic author #2 -  a man who knows the one safe-haven from the Apocalypse. Author of the 2012 debut novel, Cold Fury.... T.M Goeglein!

    Why should Santa fill every stocking next year with a copy of Cold Fury?
    Because it's like nothing any fan of YA has ever read, and it's only the beginning -- two more books to follow.

    What is the best or worst Christmas gift you've ever received?
    One of the best gifts I ever received was a complete set of Tintin books, by Herge -- everyone should read them, young and old. The worst? Easy. A harmonica shaped like a banana. Yes, you read that correctly. First, who thought a harmonica shaped like a banana was a good idea? Second, who besides a musically-inclinced monkey would ever want one?

    What's been your favourite YA novel of 2011?
    I would classify it as one I actually re-read in 2011, which was written 60 years ago this year - The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. One of the best...books...ever.

    And your most desperately needed of 2012?
    Harbinger, by Sara Wilson Etienne. It looks really amazing.

    Do you have any plans to survive/and or fight the 2012 Apocalypse?
    I have no plans at all, since I live in Chicago, which everyone knows is the toughest city in the world. The Apocalypse will be too scared to come here!

    Sara Jane Rispoli is just a normal sixteen-year-old girl coping with school and a developing crush— until her parents and younger brother are kidnapped, and she discovers her family has been a key figure of Chicago’s Outfit (aka the mob) for decades. Her father, grandfather and great grandfather all used their special ability, cold fury, to settle disputes between the two mob factions—the muscle and the money. And unless Sara wants the mob to think her now missing family has turned state’s evidence, she will have to fill her father’s shoes as the mob’s peacemaker, using her own cold fury.

    Cold Fury is released July 24th 2012 by Putnam Juvenile
     Preorder your copy
    Follow T.M's website / blog / twitter / facebook 

    Want to win an ARC of Cold Fury?

    T.M has generously donated one ARC of this fantastic novel to giveaway to YOU. You know you want to read it, so what are you waiting for? Enter now!

    • Open internationally!
    • To gain an entry, you only need fill out your name and email.
    • Ends 28th November 2011 at 11:59pm.
    Extra Entries:
    • +2 Add Cold Fury to Goodreads (or whatever book networking site you use, LibraryThing, etc).
    • +2 Advertise this giveaway anywhere.
    • +3 Add the giveaway button to your site (button and code can be found on my sidebar).

      Giveaway is now closed. Thank you for entering! The winner has been emailed. Winners from all giveaways will be announced in early January, once the event is over.

      Sunday, November 20, 2011

      You Give = We Give Update #4

      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:
      Thanks to M.J Hearle for donating a copy of his novel, Winter's Shadow and some wonderful readers for choosing some of their favourite books to send to us. We really appreciate each and every donation and I get the fun part of wrapping these in Christmas paper now :)

      Things are drawing to a close, but you still have time to get some donations in! If you need extra incentive other than that feeling of doing good, then check out the amazing prize packs we have to offer in the main post!

      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

      Saturday, November 19, 2011

      In My Mailbox #24

      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.

      Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows II

      Yeah, so Harry Potter isn't a book, but..... DEATHLY HALLOWS! Watched it when I got it and then rewatched again last night <3 Definitely my favourite out of all the movies! DH is my favourite book in the series too.

      I really loved Matched, so I can't wait to see what Crossed has to offer! Also, this is my third week in a row featuing Iron Fey in my IMM haha. I entered a giveaway frrom HarlequinTeen Australia to win the complete series and while I didn't win, they sent me a copy of the first book and a signed Maria Snyder bookmark. FYI: Gabby, the Harlequin publicist? SHE IS AMAZING. 

      Super excited to read all of these! 

      EDIT: Forgot to add Illuminate by Aimee Agresti! That was a pleasant surprise in my inbox and despite my very awful track record of ever finishing an ebook, I'm really excited for this one, so can't wait!
      What's in your mailbox this week?

      Also: stay tuned tomorrow for an international giveaway of a July 2012 release! And you still have time to enter for an ARC of Article 5!

      Friday, November 18, 2011

      Review: Smoulder

      Author: Brenna Yovanoff
      Release Date: Nov 15 2011 (US) / December 2011 (AU)
      Publisher: Razorbill US / Simon & Schuster AU
      Add it: Goodreads
      Being the youngest daughter of the Devil has never been easy. Daphne's father has no time for her, her mother no interest, and her status in the upper echelon separates her from the working-class demons that populate Lucifer's metropolis. When her brother and only confidante goes missing, life in the restrictive city of Pandemonium becomes intolerable. Now, in an attempt to find him, Daphne sets out for Earth - and finds it larger and more chaotic than she imagined: a dazzling expanse of noise, dirt and random violence. Despite her bewilderment, she navigates the mortal world with growing fascination, gaining an ally when she saves a dying boy from her father's minions.

      For Truman Flynn, the last year has been one long downward spiral, but when Daphne arrives just in time to save his life, he finds himself unexpectedly glad to have another chance. Together, Daphne and Truman go in search of her brother, braving the hazards of Las Vegas and the perils of first love, even as it becomes increasingly clear that her brother might have had a secret and compelling reason for leaving. Lucifer's agents aren't the only creatures on the prowl, and Daphne soon finds herself the target of a plan to rid the world of demons for good. Now she must evade a demon-eating monster, rescue her brother from an angelic zealot, and save the boy she loves from his greatest enemy - himself.
      There is no denying it, Brenna Yovanoff has a beautiful way with words. Her gorgeous prose transports you right into the steely heart of Pandemonium.  I loved the darkly unique spin Brenna put on Hell, it wasn't the pit of doom and gloom we've all grown up knowing. Oh, there's plenty of fire and torture and brimstone, but there is heart amongst the horror. Brenna breathed new life into the age old beliefs, here you'll find a story where both demons and angels are capable of good and bad. Love is not reserved just for the pure and holy, nor is sadism for the wicked and damned. Her mythology was so captivating, I would love to delve back into Pandeomnium in the future!

      I'm not sure I quite expected to form such a connection with the daughter of a demon and a fallen angel, but Daphne is a surprisingly likable protagonist. Growing up in Pandemonium with the likes of Lilith and Lucifer as her parents, there are expectations both from others and herself, but she's never really lived up to them. She's not like her sisters, who tempt and seduce, nor does she feel as kind-hearted and pure as her brother, Obie. But when Obie goes missing in the human world, Daphne makes the decision to enter a world so foreign and complex to what she's known and it's here that her loyalty and determination shine through. I loved seeing how she navigated the human world and began to grow into herself, find who she truly is and what she's capable of.

      Both she and Truman are two characters so richly explored that you can't help but bond with both, despite that they are so remarkably different from one another. Truman is a broken shell of a boy when we meet him. He's hit rock bottom, alcoholic and suicidal, on a downward spiral since the death of his mother. There's a desperate, lonely aura of sadness surrounding him, but then he meets Daphne. And no, it's not insta-love, it's not an immediate cure for him, but it's the beginning of something deep and heart-rendering, perfectly paced. There was this raw, honest quality to these two that I really enjoyed seeing evolve.

      Smoulder is beautifully written, emotionally rich and so creatively imagined. Brenna has skillfully constructed a haunting tale of heaven and hell, dark and light and the large expanse of gray that blurs between. She dives deep into the very soul of her characters and explores every layer. With its thoroughly captivating mythology, brilliantly-crafted characters and unpredictable twists, this is not a novel you want to miss!

      4/5 Golden Apples

      Thursday, November 17, 2011

      Winners, Answers and a Hint...

      Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway to win 3 copies of MUSE by Rebecca Lim! There were so many great responses, I couldn't possibly choose favourites, so I allowed to decide who be worthy. I asked the question: "If you woke up in the body of another, who would you like it to be? Whether a celebrity, friend or just a general person living a particular life you'd love to experience."

      The following three are the winners and their answers:

      Shirley from Shiirleyy's Bookshelf
      HA! I'd love to wake up in the body of half the YA heroines out there, since their love interest/crush/boyfriend(s) are so freaking hot. And if I have to choose ONE, it would have to be MEGHAN from The Iron Fey series just because I like Ash way too much <3 Which reminds me, YOU HAVE TO READ THE IRON FEY SERIES! ITS SUPER AMAZING!!!!! haha, i hope my answer's legit; since Meghan isn't technically a PERSON but a CHARACTERS, :)

      *makes not to self to hurry up and read The Iron Fey series in case Shirley kills me*

        Does it have to be a person? I think it would be fun to be my dog for a day, do what they do and see life through their eyes

      I would love to be in a body of some female working close with Cleopatra in ancient egypt. I was going to say Cleopatra but I wouldn't like to have the same ending as she did, but if I could jump back into my body just before she dies then I would pick Cleopatra :)
      Congrats ladies! I've emailed you all, please respond within 48 hours with your mailing addresses!

      I LOVED all the answers. From favourite book characters to mothers, to Barack Obama, librarians, Princess Mary and Miranda Kerr (I agree, Gabriella - adorable baby and ORLANDO BLOOM. Plus her smoking hot body haha). So entertaining to read! I have to share one though, mainly because I want to publicly out his Beiber/Launter admiration buahaha.

      Braiden from Book Probe Reviews:
      Okay, seriously? Fine. I'm so ashamed in saying this but I'd like to see how Justin Bieber's life is like. With his legion of girls behind him it'd be rockin'. But then I'd probably really like to be Taylor Lautner so that I get two in one: an awesome rocking body AND a legion of girls behind me. It'd be like...can't even describe it lulz.

      Don't forget to enter my giveaway for an ARC of Article 5 by Kristen Simmons! US only, ends this Monday, when I'll be posting a new 2012 author and international giveaway. Want a hint at what the book will be?

      It's not hot, but don't tell the mob that, lest they unleash their fury...

      Wednesday, November 16, 2011

      Waiting On Wednesday #36

      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: Gina Rosati
      Release Date: August 7th 2012
      Publisher: Roaring Book Press
      Add it: Goodreads
      On the surface, there’s nothing remarkable about Anna Rogan: She gets average grades, she’s not especially fashionable, she spends most of her time just hanging out with her best friend Rei. But Anna does have a remarkable secret: she has the ability to do astral projection. She uses her out-of-body experiences to explore the universe, until one day when there’s an accident at school and her classmate Taylor gets into her body. Now Taylor’s using her new identity to accuse an innocent boy of murder and she shows no signs of leaving Anna’s body. The only person who knows Anna’s secret is Rei, and as her feelings for Rei grow she must face a future where they can never touch...unless they can get find a way to get Taylor out of Anna’s body, stop the murder trial, and discover the true nature of Anna’s power.

      Author: Sarah Beth Durst
      Release Date: Septemebr 11th 2012
      Publisher: Simon & Schuster
      Add it: Goodreads
      In a desert land where serpents made of unbreakable glass fly through the sky and wolves made of only sand hunt within storms, Liyana is destined to be a vessel, to sacrifice herself so that her clan's goddess can inhabit her body... but her goddess never comes.

      Auracle: This sounds incredible! I've always been fascinated by astral projection, so it really excites me to see this element used in a YA novel. I'm curious to see how the narration will work, as Taylor is trapped inside Anna's body.... using it for means none too good. We have a murder mystery, astral projection and a complicated romance? I love.

      Vessel: I have one of Sarah's novel, Drink Slay Love, which I'll be reading soon, but I'm SUPER excited for her second YA fantasy! Wow, Vessel sounds fascinating. Serpants made of unbreakable glass? That can fly? And wolves made of sand? I am... intrigued. There's not a whole lot to go on with the synopsis, but it's enough to peak my interest and really, anything with gods or goddesses and I'm hooked.

      What are you waiting on?

      Tuesday, November 15, 2011

      Review: Cinder

      Author: Marissa Meyer
      Publisher: Penguin (AU/UK), Feiwel & Friends (US)
      Release Date: January 3rd 2012
      Add it: Goodreads
      Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

      Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
      Cinder is a futuristic retelling of one of our most well-loved fairy tales. It's set in the Eastern Commonwealth sometime after World War IV, where a deadly plague known as Letumosis has ravaged New Beijing for years without cure. Cinder is a young cyborg who suffered a terrible accident when she was 11, resulting in a surgery that transformed a portion of her body into more metal and wires than flesh and bone. Cyborgs rank second-class among humans and such prejudice rings prominent in Cinder's stepmother, Adri. Cinder is a gifted mechanic, who longs for freedom from her wicked stepmother. When the Prince of New Beijing, Kaito, asks Cinder to fix his android that may hold data that could free them all from the overthrows of another planet, her quiet, miserable life turns on a head as she's swept up in an adventure rife with danger, treachery and forbidden attraction.

      Cinder is such an admirable heroine. She's strong, loyal and determined. I really felt a strong bond with her, my own emotions going haywire with her own. I love when I'm able to connect with characters on such an intimate level. In fact, you really feel for every character, whether love, affection, respect or repulsion. Iko, Cinder's android friend, was an absolute joy and had me giggling aloud so many times! The relationship between Cinder and Kai was one of the highlights, a true friendship grew between them. An attraction so honest and lovely, a chemistry so strong and sweet, they nestled themselves into the crook of my heart both as partners and as individuals.

      Reading from both Cinder and Kai's point of view gave a greater perspective on what was happening on both a personal and a political level. From Kai, not only does he charm you with his personality and ground himself as an honest, flawed, genuine hero, but given his position, we were able to see more of Queen Levana. The deceptively beautiful Queen of Lunar. The Lunars were such an interesting touch to the story. They're a society that reside on the moon, a fascinating, if not creepy human-like race with unsettling abilities. Earth and Luna are on the brink of a war. The one way to prevent this? Prince Kai accepting Queen Levana's hand in marriage.... but having an evil, calculating villain share control over humanity isn't much of a step-up from war.

      The futuristic society was so well imagined and the way in which Marissa incorporated the original tale of Cinderella was fantastic. It was like visiting an old friend you haven't seen since childhood - they're taller, older and much hotter, but there is still that friendly wave of familiarity underneath. Cinder still held onto the essence of the fairy tale, but was so inventive and original in it's own right.

      Marissa Meyer has written an imaginative new series that brings your favourite fairy tales to life with renewed vigor. A beautifully crafted cast of characters, thrilling futuristic society, page-turning mystery, heartwarming romance and a dash of magic, are all what make this such a compulsively readable novel. I think it'll be one of the standouts of 2012!

      5/5 Golden Apples!


      If the youtube link gets taken down, you can watch on iTunes

      I am speechless. This is beyond my wildest expectations for this movie. It's like they've ripped it straight from the book  - it's PERFECT!! Everyone looks spot on (Haymitch.. .not quite how I imagined, but provided he fits the role well, we're good). The acting is superb. The reaping scene where Katniss volunteers... *SNIFF* OH PRIM! And Rue! And Peeta! And Effie! And Cinna! And Gale! And you ass, Snow! And god, is it March yet?!

      Seriously, I was on the edge of my seat at the end, desperate for MORE and then the logo comes up! GAH!!! I'm already dying for a second trailer. The movie cannot come soon enough. This is going to be AMAZING. If the apocalypse hits in 2012, at least we'll have seen this <3

      What are your thoughts?

      Monday, November 14, 2011

      2012 Author Interview & Giveaway: Kristen Simmons!

      Christmas is coming. So is the Apocalypse. So let's bring in the doomsday year in style! Each week leading up to the new year, a 2012 author will answer a short interview and generously give away a copy of their book!

      Introducing apocalyptic author #1..... drum roll please, for the cleverly strategic Kristen Simmons! Author of the 2012 dystopian novel, ARTICLE 5.

      Why should Santa fill every stocking next year with a copy of Article 5?
      Because 2012 is coming! If the world ends, you’ll want to be prepared! Chase and Ember can show you how to survive if Post-Apocalypsia involves scrounging evacuated zones for food and supplies, evading compliance officers, and resisting a moral regime (which, let’s be honest, it totally will, right?). You need to be ready for anything!

      What is the best or worst Christmas gift you've ever received?
      Best Christmas gift: my husband had a star named after me. Yeah. He’s pretty much the best.
      Worst Christmas gift: my grandmother once sent me skin tight, low rise, pleather pants. Um…thanks Grandma… (In her defense, she thought they were for skiing.)

      What's been your favourite YA novel of 2011?
      There were a ton of great books that came out in 2011! I guess I’d probably have to say Divergent by Veronica Roth (because it had everything a great story needs: excitement, danger, kissing, a sexy boy, punching, zip lines, and THINGS BLOWING UP!), and Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (because it’s so unique – what’s not to love about a ghost/human romance/horror? AND it’s funny!).

      And your most desperately needed of 2012?
      Oh, this is hard! I’m part of the Apocalypsies, which is a group of 2012 YA debut authors, and ALL of their books are going to be fantastic. Although if I had to name a couple, I can tell you for a fact (because I’ve had the honor of reading them early!) that Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry, Cracked by K.M. Walton, Renegade by Jess Souders, and Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff are all going to be awesome. Ok, maybe that was more than a couple. Sorry.

      Do you have any plans to survive and/or fight in the 2012 Apocalypse? (this covers any
      apocalyptic belief-system... zombies, aliens, mother nature seeking revenge, assassin
      automatons, Klaus and his hybrids from The Vampire Diaries, etc).


      PLAN A:
      • Immediately find Bear Grylls. That guy is going to be clutch come the end of the world.
      • If Plan A falls through (he’s already been turned to a zombie, vampire, etc.), proceed immediately to Plan B.
      PLAN B:
      • Step 1: Secure an operations base. I’m thinking a jail. It’s got everything we need – fortified walls, steel doors, weapons, cells, cots, even a kitchen (maybe not a clean one, but hey, better than nothing). Most likely all the prisoners will evacuate the second the guards disappear, so the place will be empty and ready for occupation.
      • Step 2: Locate a water source. Ideally the jail is located next to a lake or river, though if that doesn’t work out we’ll want a wet-weather environment so we can set up rain barrels.
      • Step 3: Recruit a team. I’m looking for applicants that can cover basic needs first – hunters and fisherman, and definitely soldiers. People with trained weapons experience, preferably those who can snipe off zombies or stake vampires, just in case. Soon after that, I’ll be adding a medical staff, including someone with experience in homeopathy or natural remedies. Pharmacies aren’t going to last forever.
      • Step 4: Train an army. To fight off anyone or anything.
      • Step 5: Build a radio tower and attempt to make contact with other survivors. Be ready for hostile negotiations.

      That’s the plan so far…let me know if you think of anything I’m missing…

      New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC have been abandoned.

      The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

      There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials and maybe worse. People who get arrested don’t usually come back.

      Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different.

      In the three years since the war ended, Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs—like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes—and how to pass the random home inspections by the Federal Bureau of Reformation. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And what’s worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.
      Article 5 is released February 14 2012 by Tor Teen
       Preorder your copy
      Follow Kristen's website / blog / facebook 

      Want to win an ARC of Article 5?

      Kristen has generously donated one ARC of this incredible dystopian to giveaway to YOU. Have I mentioned she's kinda awesome?

      • US only (don't worry international readers, you can enter next week's giveaway!).
      • To gain an entry, you only need fill out your name and email.
      • Ends 21st November 2011.
      Extra Entries:
      • +2 Add Article 5 to Goodreads (or whatever book networking site you use, LibraryThing, etc).
      • +2 Advertise this giveaway anywhere.
      • +3 Add the giveaway button to your site (button and code can be found on my sidebar).

      Giveaway is now closed. Thank you for entering! The winner has been emailed. Winners from all giveaways will be announced in early January, once the event is over.

      May the odds be ever in your favour!

      Saturday, November 12, 2011

      In My Mailbox #23

      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.

      Smoulder by Brenna Yovanoff (known as The Space Between in the US)

       (real name blotted out for privacy reasons)

      I had another fantastic book week! I'm crazy excited to read Smoulder, Night School, Eve and Drink Slay Love! They sound SO GOOD. I read Meridian (Fenestra #1) ages ago and can barely remember it... I know I wasn't a huuge fan, though. Wildcat Fireflies is a review copy, so... not sure when I'll get to it, but I'll give it a try and see if I like it more than the first.

      I've already read and fangirled like crazy over Divergent. My hardcore amazing friend who likes to eat vegans, Honey, went to Veronica's Canada signing a few months ago and was super freaking AWESOME and got a signed copy of Divergent for me (plus the THG bookmark). With a surpise note from Veronica. Hahaha I absolutely LOVE it. Best personalised message ever <3 THANK YOU, HONEY!!!

      And another HUGE THANK YOU to one half of the super hot B-Crew, BROOKE, for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer! <3  Noah Shaw is now considered a postal risk after he... well, let's just say he kept the post ladies distracted from work during transit. I LOVE this book! I'm curious to figure out what the mysterious spoilery one word difference is in the ARC.

      What's in your mailbox this week?

      Friday, November 11, 2011

      Review: Beautiful Chaos

      Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
      Release Date: Already out, buy a copy!
      Publisher: Penguin
      Add it: Goodreads
      Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

      For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.

      Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.
      It's not an exaggeration to say that the events of Beautiful Darkness were a game changer. No person in Gatlin has gone unaffected, Caster or Mortal, whether they're aware of the dark and supernatural world that exists alongside them or not. Lena's Claiming had detrimental effects, shattering the Order of Things. Caster powers are unpredictable, Gatlin is suffering it's greatest ever heat wave and Ethan is..... different. Memories are slowly beginning to escape him and cryptic dreams once again haunt his nights. The stakes are raised ten fold in Beautiful Chaos as mayhem and disorder reach an unbearable crescendo, dark forces are striking harder and more often and the emotional weight on the characters is monumental.

      There is a terrible secret eating away at Amma's heart and she grows more darker and frantic than Ethan has ever seen. It was shocking to see a character who is ordinarily so strong and knowing, begin to crumble in the way she did - but understandably so. Everyone is impacted in some way or another. Link (or Linkubus <3) is growing into his new found 'superpowers', but his emotional turmoil lay with Ridley. They have such a dysfunctional, back-and-forth relationship, but you can see they truly care about each other. There's a lot of angst and frustration for them and you just want to shake them both and say "BE TOGETHER!" I love Ridley, even if I want to smack her upside the head sometimes for her choices!

      And of course, there is some tension between Ethan, Lena and Liv. Don't worry, it's far from ever being a love triangle. In fact, Liv may actually be finding a spark of romance elsewhere.... in quite an unexpected person! (Who, for the record, I totally approve her with). But I definitely felt the frustration while Ethan and Liv avoided one another, because I just wanted them to be friends again! And it was so clear they missed one another. I loved how it played out though, and especially how that tension between Lena and Liv was released... it made for quite an amusing scene!

      It's the small details, so masterfully sprinkled throughout that make Gatlin feel so real and familiar each time you dive into a new book. And it makes it all the more heartbreaking when tragedy strikes. More than once I was left devastated by a turn of events and especially during the end, where I unashamedly shed a few tears. Those scenes were so heartfelt and beautifully written, I dare anyone who has come to love these characters, to not feel some emotion for what happens.

      Beautiful Chaos is the darkest and most emotional installment yet. The Gatlin you grew to love is torn apart and your favourite characters must each face some of their darkest hours. Not all will survive the crushing wheel of fate and sacrifices are made that will change everything. It ends on a crazy, 'NOOOOOOOOO,' cliffhanger that will have you biting your nails down to stubs until the fourth novel comes out! Which, for the sake of my sanity, I sincerely hope is soon.

      5/5 Golden Apples!

      Thursday, November 10, 2011

      Harry Potter: Final day of filming

      This is the extended version of a short video that was released a few months ago showing the final day of filming. 

      I didn't get emotional while watching. I don't know what you're talking about. They're not tears! It's... it's the sun irritating my eyes *sniffles* 

      When are you guys getting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 on dvd/bluray? It's released November 11th in the US, but us Aussies have to wait until the 16th. I know what I'll be doing next Wednesday! Part 1 + Part 2 marathon, anyone? :)

      Wednesday, November 9, 2011

      Waiting On Wednesday #35

      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: Elizabeth Fama
      Release Date: August 21st 2012
      Publisher: Farrar Straus Girroux
      Add it: Goodreads
      Monstrous mermaids, ghosts, and a century-old curse feature in this beautifully crafted, compulsively readable thriller.

      In 1872, mermaid Syrenka falls in love with a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

      One hundred thirty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger and feels drawn to him in a way she can't explain or resist. For generations, love and death have been inextricably linked for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect...or a curse? Hester's investigation of her family's strange, sad history leads her to the graveyard, the crypt, and the bottom of the ocean--but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of long ago.

      Author: T.M Goeglein
      Release Date: July 24th 2012
      Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
      Add it: Goodreads
      Sara Jane Rispoli is just a normal sixteen-year-old girl coping with school and a developing crush— until her parents and younger brother are kidnapped, and she discovers her family has been a key figure of Chicago’s Outfit (aka the mob) for decades. Her father, grandfather and great grandfather all used their special ability, cold fury, to settle disputes between the two mob factions—the muscle and the money. And unless Sara wants the mob to think her now missing family has turned state’s evidence, she will have to fill her father’s shoes as the mob’s peacemaker, using her own cold fury.

      Monstrous Beauty: The title alone captures your attention, doesn't it? Then you look at the gorgeous cover. Then discover it's about MERMAIDS. GHOSTS. CURSES. 1800's. I AM SO EXCITED. What a ridiculously awesome combination of elements, I cannot flipping wait.

      Cold Fury: THE MOB. Okay, so I find something crazy fascinating reading about that in a YA novel. Especially when it involves a 16 year old girl. Becoming the mob's peacemaker. Oh yeah, I sense plenty of action, danger and high-stakes ahead. July, please hurry.

      What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

      Tuesday, November 8, 2011

      Review: Touch of Power

      Author: Maria V. Snyder
      Release Date: AU January 2012 / US December 20th 2011
      Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
      Add it: Goodreads
      Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

      Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life....
      For three years Avry has been on the constant move, doing her best to keep her extraordinary healing powers hidden from the world. After a plague wiped out two thirds of the population, Healers, once revered, were accused of spreading the terrible disease. So when Avry uses her powers to save a dying girl, her selfless act is rewarded by the girls parents alerting the watchman. For the act of saving a life, Avry is about to lose hers. That is, until Kerrick of Alga comes to visit her cell in the dead of the night and rescues her from execution. But not without a price. Kerrick and his group of men have been searching for a Healer for two years to heal their plague-ridden Prince. A Prince who Avry is hell-bent to let die. Can Kerrick convince her that Prince Ryne is worth saving before it's too late?

      If I had to choose one thing that absolutely nails this novel for me, it's the characters. Maria has created such an incredibly vibrant bunch of personalities that will not allow you leave without branding your heart. Sweet, caring Belen with muscles as big as his heart, the bantering 'monkeys' Vinn and Quain and the adorably youthful Flea, who I dare anyone to deny their affection for. I absolutely loved the interactions between Avry and the guys. The way their relationship grew over the course of the novel was so heartwarming. They become a family and anytime they were faced with danger or separated for a short time, it always felt like home coming back to their scenes trekking through the forest or camping overnight in a cave. Action and danger I adore, but every time an obstacle came along, I found part of myself cursing the need for plot developments because I could have read an entire novel with just Avry and the crew hanging out.

      With that being said, I did thoroughly enjoy the danger and mystery and amazing worldbuilding. It was so interesting to learn about the different types of magic some people possessed within the Realms. From Healers to those who wield control over elements like earth, air, life or death. And to witness both the beautiful and the sickening capabilities of that magic was fascinating. As were the inclusion of Death Lilies and Peace Lilies, I was so intrigued to learn the mystery behind these unique plants and how exactly they affect Avry. Maria has crafted a world both captivating in it's magic, but dangerous in its power.

      The romance is definitely not an all-consuming, main aspect to the novel and all the more better for it. What started off as animosity gradually grew into something electric, the sexual tension simmering beneath until you just want to shout at them to kiss already! Even if neither Avry nor Kerrick ever want to admit those feelings. Both are as stubborn as the other. Kerrick has his reasons for shutting off emotionally and considering he treated her like a jackass at the start (well, apart from the saving-her-from-execution part), Avry isn't exactly open to fawning over him. 

      Magic, adventure and a dash of romance, Touch of Power is an addictive novel that will leave you eager for the next installment in this thrilling new series. Fans and newcomers to Maria's work will devour this in one sitting, but be warned; you will become attached to the characters. You won't want to leave this stunning world. And it's not possible to kill the bad guys by scratching at their name on the page or throwing the book across the room because they've taken you away from your favourite scenes. I'm still working on my 'take-down-the-fictional-baddies-from-my-depressingly-mundane-reality' powers. I'll get there eventually.

      4/5 Golden Apples!
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