Thursday, June 30, 2011

This is a note. To you. Yes, you. Read it!

Just wanted to make a short note that I may be a little slack with posting over the next week or so. I've been really slow with reading lately and starting July 10th, myself,  Honey of Sniff Books, Not Drugs, Liz of Planet Print and Sonia of The Story Queen will be hosting an awesome week of Harry Potter love on our blogs in celebration of the final movie coming out. And did I mention we have a bunch of amazing giveaways? Seriously, I'm considering taking Polyjuice Potion to disguise myself so I can enter too.

Anyway, this next week I want to focus on getting the Harry Potter posts written. But I have an awesome interview this coming Tuesday with Bryony Pearce, author of Angel's Fury, as part of her blog tour and either tomorrow or the weekend I'll have up my Outside In review. I just might be slow on reviews following that. But since I only ever post like, two a week, you might not notice any difference in posting at all. How some of you manage more than two per week, read and reviewed, especially battling with an internet addiction when you could be reading, makes me incredibly jealous.

Anywho - HARRY POTTER WEEK!!! More details soon. I am very much excited about this :D

Monday, June 27, 2011

Holy Major Swoonage, Harper!

Harper Collins have released their Winter 2012 titles and they're SMOKING! Didn't they get the memo that it's supposed to be their chilly season?

Read on and please do try to control your drooling!


Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—nicknamed The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms eventually will. In this dystopia, even the very air she breathes could kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild, dangerous—a savage. He’s also her only hope.

Perry needs Aria, too. She alone holds the key to his redemption. And their unlikely alliance will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Debut author Veronica Rossi is accumulating fans from all over the globe—the book has already sold to more than twenty countries. It’s not surprising that foreign rights for this title have been flying off the shelf. It’s a tantalizing romance in any language.


Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld, this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to forget the Everneath completely and try to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed her home. Cole wants to take over the Everneath’s throne and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

Everneath is a captivating story of love, loss, and immortality.


Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand
For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer
To Rosa Alcantara, the exotic world of Sicily, with its network of Mafia families and its reputation for murder and intrigue, is just that—exotic and wholly unknown. But when her life in Brooklyn begins to fall apart, she must travel there, to her family’s ancestral home, where centuries of family secrets await her.

Once there, Rosa falls head over heels for Alessandro Carnevare, the son of a Sicilian Mafia family, whose handsome looks and savage grace both fascinate and unsettle her. But their families are sworn enemies, and her aunt and sister believe Alessandro is only using Rosa to infiltrate the Alcantara clan. And when Rosa encounters a tiger one night—a tiger with very familiar eyes—she can no longer deny that neither the Carnevares nor the Alcantaras are what they seem.

Hidden caves, dangerous beasts roaming the hills, and a history of familial bloodlust mean that Rosa can’t trust anyone. Torn between loyalty to her family and love for their mortal enemy, Rosa must make the hardest decision of her life: stay in Sicily with her new love…or run as far and as fast as she can.


Slide by Jill Hathaway
Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.


The Last Echo (The Body Finder #3) by Kimberly Derting
Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet’s talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individualsincluding mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafeit’s Violet’s job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by “the girlfriend collector” she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new “relationship” and Violet may have caught his eye....

ALA Booklist described The Body Finder as “a suspenseful mystery and sensual love story that will captivate readers who enjoy authentic high-school settings, snappy dialogue, sweet romance, and heart-stopping drama,” while Kirkus Reviews called Desires of the Dead “imaginative, convincing, and successful suspense.” The Last Echo heightens the tension as Violet uncovers dark murders, faces new dangers, and struggles with her love for Jay and her confusing connection with Rafe. Fans of Lisa McMann and Laurie Faria Stolarz, as well as Kimberly’s devoted fan base, won’t be able to resist Violet’s newest thrilling adventure.

Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis
What if you forgot your identity and had to rely on other people to tell you who you were?

And what if to discover your true self, you first had to unravel a mystery so big and terrifying you were not sure you’d survive solving it?
When Marshall and Elyse wake up in each other’s arms with zero memory of how they got there or who they are, it’s the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.

Terrified by their amnesia, the two make a pact to work together to find the answers that could jog their missing memories. As they piece together clues, they discover they’re in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls, where everyone seems mysteriously happy, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town’s perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything—not the death of Marshall’s mom, not the hidden shame in Elyse’s family, not even the day-to-day anguish of high school.

Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marsh and Elyse fall into an intense relationship...but the secrets they uncover could be the death of this growing love—and the death of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls
And lastly, no cover but those waiting suffering the torment of that hair-pulling cliffhanger from Delirium, here is something to tide you over!
Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver captivated readers with Delirium, the first book in a thrilling dystopian trilogy in which Lena Haloway dared to fall in love with Alex and escape the cure, the government-mandated procedure that renders a person immune to the disease of love. Lena and Alex staked their lives on leaving their oppressive society, but only Lena broke free.

Pandemonium continues Lena’s gripping story. After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.

Full of danger, forbidden romance, and exquisite writing, Lauren Oliver’s sequel to Delirium races forward at a breathtaking pace and is sure to appeal to fans who crave the high-stakes action of The Hunger Games and the bittersweet love story of Romeo & Juliet.

*fans self* I. NEED. THESE. NOW! Which of these are you most looking forward to?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In My Mailbox #7

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.


Hourglass by Myra McEntire


Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
This wasn't supposed to be delivered to me, I bought it for someone else. I DO love this series though and I guess at least I have my own copy now to sit alongside Perfect Chemistry. (If you haven't started this series, you better get on it quick. Otherwise I'll have the Fuentes brothers come whoop your ass!).

NetGalley Is Love

The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen


Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

I'd been waiting all week for certain books to arrive, but they didn't. And I was sad. But my sadness didn't last long, because I'm so, so, so excited to read the ones I did get! And how creepy is the cover of Ashes?!

What goodies did you get this week?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Review: Inside Out

Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release Date: Already out!
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Add it: Goodreads
Keep Your Head Down.
Don't Get Noticed.
Or Else.


I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

This is my first Maria Snyder book and I'm more than pleased to say: it definitely won't be my last! She has created such a captivating, intriguing, original new world. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started, but what I found was a thoroughly unique and refreshing atmosphere that I did not want to leave!

Trella, otherwise known as the Queen of the Pipes, is a scrub who lives in the lower levels. It's her job to clean the pipes and ensure Inside stays clean and rust-free. She deliberately distances herself from her fellow scrubs, who she sees more-or-less as a  herd of obediant sheep. There's only one person who she willingly associates with - Cogon. Her one friend in the crowded, over-populated lower levels she craves to be free of, a boy she grew up in the same Care group as. And it's him who persuades her to see the supposed prophet, Broken Man, who claims he knows where to find Gateway - a doorway to the Outside.

It's on a whim that she decides to follow Broken Man's instructions in retrieving a number of disks he had hidden. He says they contain information on Gateway's whereabouts. Trella doesn't believe in such nonsense - or maybe just doesn't want to give herself that kind of hope. So she makes her way through the pipes to uncover the disks and sets off the start of what will change their entire existence and by doing so, marks herself as the leader of a rebellion. I loved what this did for Trella, the growth it allowed her to have over the course of the novel. She began working as a team with others, forming genuine friendships and getting to know people for the first time, eventually realising that they aren't so much different to her afterall.

In her journeys through the pipes, she stumbles across a secret storeroom... well, not-so-secret to the Upper-level boy using it. Riley. Aw, I adore Riley!  There is a light touch of romance that begins to develop between him and Trella, which was really sweet and innocent. Riley was a great character and the whole "Sheepy" thing was too adorable! With all the fictional bad boys who often like to dominate our hearts, Riley has the genuine 'nice guy' vibe going for him, yet he's not boring in any way. He's cute and charming with a stubborn streak. And while he had to work on gaining Trella's trust, there's no doubt the connection between them is going to heighten in the sequel. They completely changed one another's view of the Uppers and Lowers, coming to the realisation that they've all been fed lies to create enmity between the levels.

I really loved all the characters in this book. Trella had a strong and compelling voice that kept me glued to the pages. She's stubborn, tough and rational - a real headstrong character who I loved to watch grow. The secondary characters were equally as awesome - from Cogon, ever the optimistic and people-person, to Logan the techno genius. Characters are the meat of a novel - you can have an amazing plot, but if your characters suck, it's a total flop. But even if the plot sucks, there's still a chance at survival if your characters are captivating. Maria has nothing to worry about though, she has both the endearing characters AND the kickass dystopian plot that you'll be hard pressed to draw your ink-smudged nose away from me. Trust me, I tried, but the darn book just sucked me back in again.

There was some level of predictability, but it never stopped me from turning the pages faster and faster to see what would happen next. There was still a few shocks in store for me! And the lure of Outside was too tempting to resist. Did it really exist? Would they find it in time? If they did find it, what was really beyond the Gateway? When all was revealed, I was actually quite surprised. I wasn't expecting what was uncovered! Plus the whole characters in peril, coming uprising, ignorance between the Uppers and Lowers, danger, action and mystery were all kind of... hmm, what's the word? Addictive!

Thank the Force of Sheep I had the sequel nearby as soon as I finished!

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pottermore!

Finally, after a long and torturous week and countless owls freaking me out, the moment we've all been waiting for is finally here! Were you counting down the minutes until Pottermore went live? Twitter was chaotic! So full of Potter love!

Here is the official website to sign up: http://www.pottermore.com
And official youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/JKRowlingAnnounces


Anyway, here is the official announcement from J.K Rowling. How freaking COOL are the effects in the video? So creative!




And for those who are thinking "But I still don't get it..." then read on for the official press release. It can also be viewed here.

J.K. Rowling today, Thursday 23rd June, answered mounting speculation about the nature of her new project and announced Pottermore, a unique and free-to-use website which builds an exciting online experience around the reading of her hugely successful Harry Potter books, and is partnered by Sony.

The announcement today was heralded by the revealing of the website’s name via an online search for its letters, and a ‘coming soon’ holding page which received over a million visits within 36 hours of launching.

For this groundbreaking collaborative project, J.K. Rowling has written extensive new material about the characters, places and objects in the much-loved stories, which will inform, inspire and entertain readers as they journey through the storylines of the books. Pottermore will later incorporate an online shop where people can purchase exclusively the long-awaited Harry Potter eBooks, in partnership with J.K. Rowling’s publishers worldwide, and is ultimately intended to become an online reading experience, extending the relevance of Harry Potter to new generations of readers, while still appealing to existing fans. As the Pottermore Shop develops, it is intended that it should include further products designed specifically for Harry Potter fans, offering a potential outlet for Sony products and services related to Pottermore. In keeping with Harry Potter’s international appeal, the site will launch in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, with more languages to follow.

In the new website, the storyline will be brought to life with sumptuous newly-commissioned illustrations and interactive ‘Moments’ through which you can navigate, starting with the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone. On entering, you choose a magic username and begin your experience. As you move through the chapters, you can read and share exclusive writing from J.K. Rowling, and, just as Harry joins Hogwarts, so can you. You visit Diagon Alley, get sorted into a house, cast spells and mix potions to help your house compete for the House Cup.

At a press conference at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Rowling revealed some key features of the website. In an announcement which will thrill fans, she described how she has brought to life both the Sorting Hat and Ollivanders experiences from her books for the first time on Pottermore, by revealing the questions asked by the Sorting Hat - which places newcomers into their Hogwarts houses according to their characteristics - and the magic behind the Wand Chooser – which finds the right wand for each user from over 33,000 possible combinations. She also revealed glimpses of the new information she has provided on some of the best-loved characters.

J.K. Rowling’s announcement on YouTube and sony.com today revealed that Pottermore (along with the Pottermore Shop) will be open to all users in October 2011. From today, 23rd June, fans can submit their email addresses on Pottermore.com in order to be contacted by the site following the opening of registration on 31st July, Harry’s birthday. Also on that date, an online challenge will be launched, whereby the first million people to complete their registration will gain early entry into the website, and help put final touches to the experience.

J.K. Rowling commented,

“I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new digital generation. I hope fans and those new to Harry will have as much fun helping to shape Pottermore as I have. Just as I have contributed to the website, everyone else will be able to join in by submitting their own comments, drawings and other content in a safe and friendly environment – Pottermore has been designed as a place to share the stories with your friends as you journey through the site.”

Pottermore has been made possible with the support and partnership of Sony.

Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Sony Corporation, commented:

“Sony's association with J.K. Rowling's Pottermore brings together one of the world’s most innovative brands with the most successful book series in history, in a pioneering partnership that will help shape the future of story-telling. We are proud to be a part of it, both at this momentous announcement, and as we collaborate on its development over the coming years.”

On Sony’s partnership of Pottermore, J.K. Rowling commented:

“As I think people know, I am very protective of Harry and have always been very selective with any new initiatives, but I am totally committed to making this partnership with Sony and this wonderful new website a success. There are many companies I could have worked with on this ultimate digital expression of Harry Potter’s universe, but it is Sony’s unique philosophy of creativity in harmony with technology that made them my first choice as main partner. The spirit behind Sony’s make.believe philosophy is one that rings true with Pottermore’s own values.”

The detailed creative execution has been led by TH_NK, a leading UK digital agency, under the supervision of J.K. Rowling and the Pottermore management team, in co-operation with Sony. J.K. Rowling’s publishers, Bloomsbury in the UK and Scholastic in the USA, as well as her international publishers worldwide, have been active supporters in the creation of pottermorePottermore Shop. Warner Bros, the makers of the hugely successful Harry Potter film franchise, is also one of the partners who have worked to support the launch of Pottermore through a variety of marketing, promotional and other efforts, and will continue to collaborate as the project grows.

The storyline of the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, will go live on the site in early 2012. The Pottermore Shop opens when the site opens to all in October, selling complete ranges of the eBooks and digital audiobooks in a selection of languages, exclusively.

Designed for fans of all ages, the website has been created with child safety in mind, employing best practice and compliance with internet codes of practice in the UK, Europe and USA, and elsewhere. 

Here are some of the details announced in the press conference. Head on over to leaky to read mroe of them.

  • Pottermore is an interactive new Web site and reading experience with more than 18,000 new words from J.K. Rowling: Much more to come.
  • An online experience to read, interact with and share the Harry Potter stories. Exclusive writing from J.K. Rowling and more.
  • One million fans will get access to a beta on July 31, Harry's birthday. It will be open for all in October 2011.
  • The launch of Pottermore will have more than 18,000 words from J.K. Rowling, but that is only a third of what she has written so far.
  • J.K. Rowling said this morning that there is a lot more content to come for the Pottermore site, and she will develop it as it grows.
  • This morning J.K. Rowling said that she and Harry have a "casual relationship," instead of the serious kind they once had.
  • You will follow the story, get sorted into a house and get a wand (one of 33,000 possible combinations) - all crafted by JKR.
  • JKR is excited to include a long backstory on McGonagall - her childhood, ministry career, early heartbreak...
  • A lot of the Pottermore team is Hufflepuff, which JKR said is what "you want in a team - they're workers!"
  • JKR said if you're not sorted into Gryffindor you get even more exclusive content about your house.
  • Chamber of Secrets story to debut in 2012. 
  • Also shown this morning, there will be info on Minerva McGonagall's long friendship with Dumbledore
  • A lot of the Pottermore team is Hufflepuff, which JKR said is what "you want in a team - they're workers!"
  • A physical encyclopedia may come one day, JKR said, but she is not positive.
  • Also mentioned that Vernon ad Petunia met at work, backstory also on Pottermore.
And check out some exclusive screenshots of the website here!

Who else is excited for launch? I NEED to be one of those beta users to gain access on July 31st! I do not have the patience to wait until October! And FYI: I'm totally getting sorted in Hufflepuff or Gryffindor. So for anyone who ends up in Slytherin, I'm making you an instant enemy. Aw, come on. It'll be fun! I need someone to hex! And make fall off their broom during the Quidditch match so I can be put on detention. But then sneak out to the one-eyed witch passageway and leg it to Honeydukes to pig out on chocolate frogs and acid pops and ice mice and pepperment imps and sugar quills and mmmm... where's the Butterbeer to wash it all down? Who's with me?!

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Waiting on Wednesday #19

    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: Aimee Carter
    Release Date: April 2012
    Publisher: Harlequin Teen
    Add it: Goodreads
    Kate Winters has won immortality.

    But if she wants a life in the Underworld with Henry, she’ll have to fight for it.

    Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

    As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

    Henry’s first wife, Persephone.



    Author: Rosemary Clement-Moore
    Release Date:July 7th 2011
    Publisher: Corgi Childrens
    Add it: Goodreads
    Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.


    Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test #2): Okay, so I loved The Goddess Test. And now the sequel promises Titans? Tartarus? Persphone? Um, does this sound awesome or what?! So excited to see how it all plays out!

    Texas Gothic: Again, I don't need to say much here. Witches. Ghosts. Hot cowboy. Yeehaw! Is that not a ridiculously delicious combination?

    What are you waiting on?

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Interview with author Amalie Howard

    Today I'd like to welcome the wondefully talented and super friendly Amalie Howard, author of the YA novel, Bloodspell. If you read my review for Bloodspell, you'd know that it's awesome. And you really should go grab a copy.

    Read on to find out about what sexy million dollar car Christian would drive,  Amalie's favourite scenes to write and who she'd pledge her loyalty to: witches or vampires?

    I love that you show the struggles and that raw, darker side that comes with being a witch or vampire. It's really refreshing to see when it's sometimes glossed over in YA paranormal. What inspired you to take on this compelling story?
    Thank you. The darkness was an element that I really wanted to convey in this novel. In terms of inspiration, I spent my childhood in the Caribbean, an area of the world rich in occult folklore and mysticism, which undoubtedly shaped my interest in dark fantasy. I remember reading the very dark and disturbing The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales at about seven, and it was intense and raw and scary! Add in an early obsessive interest with Anne Rice, and my fascination (and respect) for the darker side of paranormal was sealed. As a result, my idea of witches and vampires is not all sunshine and roses—the way I see it is that this kind of power comes at a cost, whether it’s a cost of a soul or a conscience or in blood. I mean these creatures are historically known as “creatures of the night.” They’re not exactly cut out to be your best friend. They’re selfish and powerful and live only to serve their own wants and desires. That said, I think the things we love most in supernatural creatures besides the lure of their beauty and power, is their humanity, no matter how fragile it may be. We want to connect with them, to root for them, so we have to identify with them in some small part, even if they terrify us. In Bloodspell, I needed to show the darker, more terrible side because in the end, it only emphasizes the light that my characters (particularly Christian and Victoria) are striving for. We all have our dark natures, but that doesn’t make us bad people. Even at our worst, we’re still going to be worthy of love and forgiveness. That’s the human condition. The ability to love and to show compassion are distinctly human characteristics. For me, the juxtaposition of darkness and light really highlights the redemptive elements in this novel. Despite what they are, my characters struggle against the seductive pull of their baser natures, and find value in fighting for their humanity.

    Whose perspective did you enjoy writing from more, Victoria or Christian's?
    This is a tough choice because I really enjoyed writing both. On the one hand, writing from Victoria’s perspective was awesome because I liked being on her journey of discovering her powers, falling in love, and coming to terms with what she is. She’s young and fresh and feisty! But on the other hand, I also loved writing from Christian’s perspective because he’s a 175-year-old immortal! If I had to choose, I would probably go with Christian if only because it was so cool to be able to construct a whole life for him spanning a couple centuries. I literally lived vicariously through him! I loved that continuous feeling of evolution within Christian’s thought process and his whole internal struggle with who he is and the rules of his world. He’s so incredibly complex! He’s a very intelligent being, and yet he falls in love with this girl who is nearly his polar opposite. I think a part of me really enjoyed exploring the masculine side of things, particularly as it related to love and matters of the heart. As a writer, I wanted to give readers a chance to experience both perspectives as I did. After all, love is a connection between two people—why not be able to savor the experience of both?

    Do you have a favourite scene from Bloodspell?
    I have a few, but I have to say that my hands-down favorite is the fight scene in the end with the other warlocks. I LOVE that Tori is so fierce and fearless and insanely confident. She becomes everything and more that I wanted her to be—to defend and fight for those she loves. It was a singularly proud moment for me. *wipes tear away*

    It has to be asked. We're on the brink of a war. You must declare your loyalty to one side only. Witches or vampires?
    Witches! No, vampires! No, witches! Ok fine, we’re on the brink of war so I’ll stop posturing. In the end, I have to have my girl Victoria’s back on this one. And well, she is the undisputed queen of the paranorms, so I’m on Team Tori. The real question is … whose side will she be on?

    Can you give us any teasers for what to expect in the sequel? I am not above begging! Or pretending I have fangs to scare a few answers out of you :)
    Haha! Fangs, bring it! In the sequel, you’ll be seeing a lot more of Christian and Victoria, plus some of the other characters like Leto (a lot of him!) and Angie, and maybe some new ones. The sequel is set in Paris so I’m really excited about that, and it really delves into Victoria’s past and how the curse started. Readers will also learn more about the Reii, the Vampire Ancients, and will come to understand more about Christian, how he was turned and why he is so important to the vampire society. I’m really excited about the next book!

    Do you have any behind-the-scenes facts to share? (like a scene/character that didn't make the cut, funny story about something that happened while writing, inspiration for a particular scene, etc).

    With all the editing that usually happens, scenes invariably get cut. I had some pretty awesome scenes with Christian on a Hayabusa motorbike, one of the fastest bikes in the world, as well as him driving a Bugatti Veyron, which costs about $1.3 million dollars. Seriously, if I were a vampire with time and money at my disposal, I would buy every fast car, boat, bike and plane out there … from the concepts to the classics! Anyway, I guess the editors thought that it was a little too much unnecessary detail that didn’t add to the story or Christian’s hotness. But honestly—have a look at this car? Imagine Christian driving this? *SWOON*

    You're insanely well travelled (and I'm insanely jealous!). What have been some of your favourite places visited?
    I really owe the foundation for this to my mother. We were the family that saved money to travel, so I’ve been doing that from a very young age and continued it into my older years. It’s given me a great foundation for experiencing different cultures and understanding the true meaning of diversity. There are so many places I could list, if only because each place holds some kind of special memory! Obviously, France tops the list just because I feel such a deep connection every time I’m in Paris, something in my blood, I think … the Louvre, Notre Dame, Montmartre, I love it all. Off the top of my head and in no particular order, I loved surfing in Australia and skiing in New Zealand, eating my way through Tuscany, playing carnival in Trinidad, basking on the beach in Bali, scuba-diving in the Bahamas, bungee-jumping in Macau, shopping on Rodeo Drive like in Pretty Woman (I bought a scarf, the only thing I could afford), swimming in the warm Mediterranean in Cyprus, and lastly, putting down some family roots in the wonderful state of New York.

    If you could date any fictional character, who would it be?
    Really? LOL. Christian, hands down. Extra points if he lets me drive the Bugatti. Although … I’ve really been feeling Four lately from Divergent. May need to have a “boy-off” in the foreseeable future.

    In a dystopian future where books are banned, which three novels would you risk your life to save?
    Great question! Let me think about this for a minute. Notwithstanding, Bloodspell, I would shed blood for Lord of the Rings, Pride & Prejudice, and The Count of Monte Cristo.

    Thank you so much for stopping by, Amalie! Can I please join your super hot date with Christian and Four, please??

    Stop by and say hi to Amalie on her website, twitter and facebook. Or add Bloodspell to Goodreads!

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Review: Legend


    Author: Marie Lu
    Release Date: November 29th 2011
    Publisher: Penguin
    Add it: Goodreads
    What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

    From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

    Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
    Since I'm posting this so early (I don't have the patience to wait until late November!), I tried not to be too specific with certain plot points.

    Legend is a thrilling, intense, addictive ride that is shocking in it's violence yet emotionally touching. The characters breathe a life of their own and the world Marie has crafted is so well detailed and expanse, I felt like I was right there inside the book. Legend is set in the Republic of America, long gone are the "United States" - instead there are two nations at war - the Republic and the Colonies. We're shown the journey of two fifteen year olds living within the same nation, but with vastly different upbringings and opposing beliefs. Marie really digs deep inside her protagonists heads and explores with flawless talent their individual journeys, which ultimately combine into a shared journey, creating what is going to be one of the most unstoppable duos in the YA world.

    Day and June are two sides of one coin. Both are incredibly intelligent, skilled and can kick some serious ass. One, a wealthy child prodigy destined for a exceptionally bright future, despite a few troublemaker antics and the other, a boy from the slums, who in his young life has marked himself as the Republic's most wanted criminal. Only on rare occasions is a trace of him left behind. The Republic have no idea what he looks like, where he comes from, what he's planning next. They are completely in the dark as to who their most infamous criminal is, save for the name he goes by: Day. They can never catch him, never outsmart him. Until that one day of desperation, when Day embarks on an ill-fated mission to help save his family and Captain Metias Iparis is killed. That Captain is June's brother, her only remaining family left. And she will stop at nothing to find Day and make him pay for what he has done.

    Marie really excelled at creating a strong emotional bond between the reader and the characters. I become so invested in both Day and June's lives, their emotions, their struggles, their histories. Narrative between the pair is switched every chapter, but every single time I was so effortlessly attuned to each character and their plight.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching the relationship between Day and June merge and transform from their initial attraction, to the realisation of the identity of the other and the conflicting feelings that followed, warring confusion in their hearts - June's in particular.  How could she feel sympathy, friendship and attraction, even, for the boy who supposedly murdered her brother?

    Legend is full of the betrayals, secrets, government manipulation and badassery that dystopian fans crave. Your heart will ache, pound, rejoice and clench as it enjoys a plethora of emotions from this fantastic novel. There are many gasp worthy moments throughout and more than once I wanted to throw something at certain people from the Republic! We're given a few flashbacks throughout the story that shed more insight on the bonds both Day and June share with their families, which fit seamlessly within the present and allowed us to grow even more connected with the characters. The talent and skills these fifteen year olds have is insane. What I wouldn't give to be able to scale a building or be the smartest person in my country when I was 15. Hell, what I wouldn't give to scale a building now.

    Legend is a beautifully written dystopian that will keep you on the edge of your seat, your heart reaching out to these characters in the time of need, of pain, of joy, of impossibility - how will they make it out alive? What will happen next? This is such a page-turner, you won't be able to read fast enough yet regret the moment you come to that final sentence. This is going to make an amazing movie, I think it will really translate well to screen. Now how do I make both the sequel and the movie come sooner?! I might have to employ Metias' genius hacking skills to obtain earlier copies of both *shifty eyes*

    Rating: 5/5

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    In My Mailbox #6

    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.


    - Starting Spellbound now due to Lisa @ Read Me, Bookmark Me, Love Me wooing me over, so if I don't like it, it's her fault. Play Dead was a surprise in the mail, never heard of it before, but it involves zombies and a high school football team. And a hot author. There's a colour photo of the guy who wrote it, Ryan Brown, on the back of the book... not bad eye-candy ;) Apparently he's an actor too.

    Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli
    Tales of the Greek Heroes by Roger Green
    -Got these both at Dirt Cheap Books. Really looking foward to reading Harry, A History! I read the forward note by J.K Rowling and had to laugh - apparently one fan letter she received had "DON'T KILL HAGRID. DON'T KILL HAGRID." repeated hundreds of times over ten sides of A4 paper. Dedication to Hagger, me like.

    Those That Wake by Jesse Karp
    - Contest win from the awesomely awesome Kai @ Amaterasu Reads! Thank you! <3


    Update:
    I couldn't resist. I went and snagged this off S&S GalleyGrab!
    Fury by Elizabeth Miles

    What's in your mailbox this week?

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    NEW DEATHLY HALLOWS PART II TRAILER!

    HOLY HIPPOGRIFFS!!!!

    OMG. Words fail me. IT'S FREAKING INSANE!!!




    Is your jaw on the FLOOR?! MINE IS! This trailer has a crap ton of new footage. Anyone else get emotional while watching? Especially during the Lily/Harry/Resurruction stone shots! Excuse me, I have to go rewatch a hundred thousand freaking times!!

    ALSO (YES, THERE'S MORE): The new website has launched for the movie and they've included a couple of ten second clips of footage. Including Ron/Hermione/Nagini, the dragon escaping Gringotts and a mixed one with one or two new shots. Check them out at Snitch Seeker.
     
    That's it, potterholics. Not including any tv spots or clips that will show up within the month, that is the final ever trailer we will watch for a Harry Potter film. And in less than a month, no more movies. No more anticipation. No more speculation. No more squeeing over new promo shots or footage. It's all over. How has this moment come so soon?? *cries*


    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    This Week's Gossip #6

    Hoggy Warty Hogwarts...

    If you haven't already seen the buzz surrounding this announcement today, there was a scavenger hunt amongst the big Harry Potter fansites to uncover J.K Rowling's newest venture: www.pottermore.com   - EEEE! Cryptic! More info coming soon, many are guessing it could have something to do with the the Harry Potter Encyclopedia she's been working on or perhaps it's a MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) See, POTTER Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Experience = Pottermore. I've participated in written Harry Potter RPG's, but never the extensive, interactive video game kind and omg if it's true, how freaking awesome would that be?! Can't wait to find out what Pottermore is all about! You can follow the official twitter account here: @pottermore

    Also, we're getting the official international theatrical trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II tomorrow (unless it leaks early). Naturally I'll be posting it here once it's up! Keep your eyes peeled, Potterholics.



    DREAM DARK: A BEAUTIFUL CREATURES STORY is a never-before-seen short story, created as a prequel to BEAUTIFUL CHAOS, the hugely anticipated third book in the series, which goes on sale October 13.  The e-book is set to release on August 2 for $1.99, and will be available for download across all digital platforms.

    This all-new story focuses on the fan-favorite character Link who undergoes a heart-racing transformation.  Wounded during a climactic battle, Link slowly realizes that being bitten by a Supernatural does more than break the skin—it can change a person, inside and out, turning him into a creature more and more like the dark creature who injured him.  As a special bonus, DREAM DARK will include an exclusive sneak peek at the first five chapters of BEAUTIFUL CHAOS.


    Tease me, tempt me...

    Veronica Roth has revealed the title of Divergen't sequel: INSURGENT. Check out the list of definitions she gave on her blog that give us a hint on what to expect. I'm giddy with excitement to see what's in store for Tris next!

    Want to read the prologue for THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater? Of course you do - killer horses!

    The first chapter of ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake has gone viral. READ IT. How awesome was that?! And that's just the first chapter! 

    Lisa Bergren has tweeted fans a small teaser from TORRENT, the last book in the River of Time trilogy.
    He hesitated, as if wrestling with the desire to cross the space between us and kiss me until I admitted I was just a tiny bit in love with him too. But he didn't. He didn't.
    I am so, so, so excited to read this! I absolutely love this series, it's amazing. But I don't want it all to end just yet!

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Waiting on Wednesday #18

    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: Cate Tiernan
    Release Date: September 5th 2011
    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
    Add it: Goodreads
    Nastasya has lived for hundreds of years, but for some reason, life never seems to get any better. She left her spoiled, rich girl life to find peace at River's Edge, a safe haven for wayward immortals. There, she learned to embrace River's Edge, despite some drama involving the sexy Reyn, who she wants but won't allow herself to have. But just as she's getting comfortable, her family's ties to dark magick force her to leave.

    She falls back into her old, hard partying ways, but will her decision lead her into the hands of a dark immortal? Or will it be her first step to embracing the darkness within her?


    Author: Jennifer E. Smith
    Release Date: January 2nd 2012
    Publisher: Poppy
    Add it: Goodreads
    Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

    Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18B. Hadley's in 18A.

    Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

    Darkness Falls (Immortal Beloved #2): Hmm, the cover art doesn't really give a "Young Adult" vibe, does it? I don't know why, but it feels more like an adult book to me. Anyway, I absolutely loved the first book, Immortal Beloved and have been eagerly awaiting the sequel! I'm so excited to see what's next for Natasya (who, by the way, is awesome) and to see how the relationship between her and Reyn will unfold. Let's just say, they've shared an intense past together.

    The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight: BRITISH BOY. Oh, right. And the story sounds awesome too. I love that the entire book is set over a 24 hour period, I'm so curious to see how that author pulls it off. This sounds like such a sweet contemporary read!

    What are you waiting on?

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Review: Bloodlines

    Author: Richelle Mead
    Release Date: August 23rd 2011
    Publisher: Penguin
    Add it: Goodreads

    The first book in Richelle Mead's brand-new teen fiction series - set in the same world as Vampire Academy.

    When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

    Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.

    WARNING: This does include a few vague spoilers including who the leading characters are.

    I did try making my rambling shorter, but I soon gave up, as you can tell.

    Bloodlines picks up one month after Last Sacrifice's ending (although for those who haven't read the VA series, you can still easily understand what's going on). Sydney is facing the repercussions of helping Rose, Adrian is carrying a broken heart and Jill's life is in grave danger. With Lissa now Queen, those within the Moroi who oppose the new direction she plans to take them in are not laying down quietly. Rather than attack the Queen herself, they're attempting to kill her last remaining member of the Dragomir bloodline, thus dethroning Lissa. After a severe attack on Jill's life, Sydney is recruited by the alchemists to help her go into hiding in the last place one would think to look for a vampire with an irritation to sunlight: Palm Springs, California.

    Sydney, Adrian, Jill and Eddie are our leading characters this time around, but we're treated to a number of cameo appearances from our favourite Vampire Academy personalities. On top of that, Richelle introduces an awesome cast of new characters (not including Keith, another alchemist. Because he's an asshat) that help to weave the deliciously juicy drama that Richelle excels at. With Adrian rooming at a local Moroi's house and Sydney, Jill and Eddie enrolling at Amberwood Prep posing as siblings, Palm Springs allows us a dash of high school drama, underground shady tattoo businesses and a look into how our otherworldly fit into the mundane world, which wouldn't be complete without a few secrets and danger that help to craft yet another standout start to what is going to be an amazing series.

    While I did guess a few of the mysteries early on, in no way did that detract me from the sheer enjoyment of this novel. And Richelle did have a few surprises up her sleeve for me in the end! Bloodlines is full of mysteries, secrets, betrayals and revelations. Twists, intensity and humour with brilliant plotlines set up that will carry on in the following books. There are a threads linking different characters together that give potential for the emotional drama that Richelle consistently nails. I am so excited to see these relationships expanded upon! Romance, friendships and a promise of a whole lot of angst. Can I just slip in here that Richelle never fails to deliver that last-line-AHHH-reaction. I'm biting my nails in nervousness at the angst it offers to one character, but fist-pumping for what it entails for us readers! Also, I have to say how excited I am for someone who I know is going to have a bigger role in the sequel - as soon as the arrived on the scene toward the end, I was all "YES!!". I am SO happy, because this is a character I cannot wait to see developed more.

    As much as I love Rose, I felt no disappointment making the switch to Sydney's POV. Our little alchemist rocks. I love all her little quirks and while she has crazy smart knowledge on practically every other subject, she is adorably clueless when it comes to social interactions. There's a scene that totally made me laugh which really highlighted how naive she is when it comes to attention from the opposite sex. She analyses, rationalises and over thinks everything and due to her upbringing, has strict black and white views on the vamperic world. But when placed in the heart of a situation where she's surrounded by a group of both Moroi and Dhampir, it begins to chip away a little at the edges and those views blur a little. She still has a lot of growth to come, which I am so looking forward to seeing unfold. I've no doubt in my mind Richelle has awesome things planned for our lead heroine.

    I have to devote some time to one of my all-time favourite characters - Adrian Ivashkov. I freaking love this guy. I absolutely adored him in VA, but he's wooed me over a hundred times more in Bloodlines! He's insanely charming, witty, funny and behind that slacker, party boy image there is a broken soul that you're just yearning to help fix. He is so real and flawed and messed up and makes stupid mistakes, all of which add to that incredibly well rounded depth Richelle has given him and help to balance out his sheer awesomeness. Every single scene he had in this book was made of WIN. Every line he speaks is genius. And the interactions between him and Sydney were brilliant. I loved their banter and I LOVED the friendship and alliance that slowly formed. Good grief, SOMEBODY GET ME BOOK TWO NOW PLEASE!

    There weren't any hot and steamy romantic scenes in Bloodlines. Did I feel they were lacking? Not in the slightest. What I love so much about her stories is that she takes the time to realistically forge the bonds and attraction between characters and allows them to grow at a healthy pace. There's no insta-love and it is so, so much more enjoyable to watch as the seeds are planted and the characters grow closer.

    I hate reading new books after finishing one of Richelle's, because... they're not Richelle Freaking Mead's. How does she do it? Her stories are so completely absorbing. I am always so consistently immersed in the world she has crafted, everything about it is addictive. Bloodlines is a fantastic start in what has already grounded itself as yet another of my all time favourite series. This did not feel like 'worldbuilding' book where we have to wait for the good stuff to come in the sequel. It stands on it's own as a captivating tale and yet leaves us yearning for what's to come. I think I would have rated this 5 stars on principle of being a loyal Vampire Academy fan, but Bloodlines EARNS every amount of praise I give it. VA fans will eat this book up and then buy another copy to snack on.

    Rating: 5/5

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    In My Mailbox #5

    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.


    Bloodlines by Richelle Mead



    Legend by Marie Lu



    Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout



    The Shattering by Karen Healey


    Um, can I please have this moment of SQUEEEE?! Bloodlines (which is signed!) and Legend are thanks to an amazing woman named Paula who got copies at BEA. She only sent them last week, so I thought they'd take longer to arrive here in Australia! I had to stop myself from jumping up and down with excitement at the Post Office. She was also super nice and included the Bloodlines tote bag. I LOVE YOU PAULA!! <3

    Really excited for Half Blood and The Shattering too. Half Blood is an ebook, but my review can't be posted until a month before release, so you'll have to wait to hear my thoughts on this when I get to it!

    Also snagged some great non-fiction books this week on astronomy and a cool one called Signs and Symbols which is a very comprehensive guide that covers practically everything, from mythology,  animals, plants, cultures, human life, cosmos, etc. Really interesting to flick through and I think it's a great resource/inspiration for writers!


    What did you get this week?

    Review: Beauty Queens

    Author: Libba Bray
    Release Date: Already out!
    Publisher: Allen and Unwin
    Add it: Goodreads

    From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.
    Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count

    Oh my goodness. I don't even know where to start with this crazy rollercoaster of a book. For fans of Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy - this is 276% different from those books, so don't go in with any expectations. However, if you're read Going Bovine, you'll be slightly more prepared for what to expect. Beauty Queens throws us straight into the aftermath after a plane, carrying a group of girls participating in the Miss Teen Dream Pageant, crashes on a seemingly deserted island. The pilot and camera crew are all dead, as are a few of the girls. Perhaps you're thinking 'oh what a grim way to start the story!' - then maybe you'll think it sadistic of me for laughing within the very first chapter. But with this motley collection of ridiculously awesome and hilarious characters, you're guaranteed to never face a dull moment.

    I honestly cannot pick a favourite character. Petra? Adina?  Jennifer? Or maybe Miss Taylor Rene Krystal Hawkins? Everyone, I think, can find some part of themselves within at least one character and relate to the issues they face. Whether battling with sexuality, craving acceptance or struggling with your identity. Or maybe you can relate to an international terrorist with a fetish for the Sarah Palin-type and a stuffed lemur as his General. Regardless of who you connect with, it's hard not to love all these characters. Even Momo B. ChaCha (aforementioned terrorist. Also harbouring an Elvis obsession.) and Agent Jones (but only after he embraced his inner Man Flower).

    I don't really want to delve too deeply into the plot, because I think that it's best enjoyed having all these hilarious scenes and events take you by surprise. But there are evil mastermind plots and Cooperation's dealing in shady business. And let's just say, if I were those girls, I'd never use Lady 'Stache Off again. I think I'd prefer to go the old school route with a razor while the hit song "Let Me Shave Your Legs Tonight, Girl" plays in the background. More peace of mind.

    There are quite a few commercials, product placement and footnotes scattered throughout the book which were just as much fun as the rest of the book to read and help highlight the ridiculous exploits of media and cooperation's in our world today. Libba mocks the many pop culture trends that have gripped our society - boybands, the influx of products we see lining our shelves to make us look better and ultimately 'be' better people because hey, isn't beauty EVERYTHING? Who are you if you're not looking your best! Not to mention the obsession people have with reality shows these days and being in the spotlight for the stupidest of reasons.

    And I think Libba shows exactly how we judge people without getting to know them. The girls at first seem to be vapid, clueless, pretty young things and you have to wonder how on earth they'll survive on the island. But as we grow to learn more about each beauty queen and their layers were peeled back, we saw each had  hidden depths, secrets, desires and insecurities. And as each day passes where they're forced to fend for themselves to ensure survival, we see as each girl reaches her potential and comes into her own. Although upon arrival of the Bodacious teen-rock-star pirates, what did I do? Immediately make judgements of the characters. I apologise, Captain Sinjin St. Sinjin. I thought you were a jackass. But dude, you rock. Though admittedly, you did act like an ass when you first arrived.

    I really can't write a proper review to give this book justice. It is freaking hilarious. And there are so many themes presented, so many endearing and utterly hilarious characters and such a brilliantly crafted novel, that it would take me more words than blogger allows to fully give this book the kudos it deserves. Beauty Queens is everything I could ask for all in the one novel. A smattering of romance, evil mastermind plots, girl power, laughs, laughs and  more laughs and most importantly: fantastic characters (and yes, many are total stereotypes, but this is the kind of novel where stereotypes WORK).

    I want to spend a day inside Libba Bray's head. I don't think I'd want come back to reality. I suppose it depends on your type of humour, as to whether or not you'll enjoy this. This book IS over the top, outlandish, outrageous and ten shades of crazy, but that's what is so uniquely great about it. If you like satires that poke fun at the media and a laugh-out-loud, embrace-your-inner-YOU story, then I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book. Genius.

    Rating: 5/5

    Beauty Queens is absolutely FULL of quotable quotes... especially the funny ones. But I'll leave you with one that is so very true. So thank you, Libba Bray, I'm cutting the 'unnecessary' sorrys out of my vocabulary!

    "Why do girls always feel like they have to apologize for giving an opinion or taking up space in the world? Have you ever noticed that?" Nicole asked. "You go on websites and some girl leaves a post and if it's longer than three sentences or she's expressing her thoughts about some topic, she usually ends with, 'Sorry for the rant' or 'That may be dumb, but that's what I think." 

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Review: Hereafter

    Author: Tara Hudson
    Release Date: June 7th 2011 (US), July 7th 2011 (AUS)
    Publisher: Harper Collins
    Add it: Goodreads
    Can there truly be love after death?

    Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

    Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

    Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.
    The only ghost stories I've really read are those from spooky middle-grade books from when I was younger. Hereafter is one of the few (if only, my memory is not so good!)  ghostly romances I've had the pleasure of reading. And now I'm dying for more! (Get it? Dying? Yeah, I don't think I'm funny either).

    I really liked the way in which Tara developed Amelia. As soon as we start the book, we're given as much information as Amelia knows - and that's not a whole lot. She's been existing in this bleak state of limbo for years. Seeing all, but none seeing her. Her past unknown, her name unknown, her entire life and everything that made her once a living, breathing girl, is lost to her. That in itself is an incredibly haunting reality. To lose who you are, even in death, is a scary thought. Death had wiped all the life from this girl. Until a living boy changed it all.

    Enter Joshua. Sweet, boy-next-door, the type every mother would love their daughter to date, Joshua Mayhew. Given their eventful near-death first meeting triggering some abilities of his own, Joshua can see Amelia. Something she hasn't experience in all her time being dead. A response from another human being. Being around Joshua, forming a bond with him, sees Amelia becoming more and more alive, in as much a way as a ghost can be alive. She reawakens to the world around her and begins to learn more about who she is and who she was. The relationship that developed between Amelia and Joshua was beautiful and honest. They form a genuine connection that is so enjoyable to read! 

    There is real character development here. I loved that as the book progressed, we watched Amelia come into her own. Emotionally and physically. She's grew more strong and determined of herself. She fought that natural ghostly instinct of 'flight' and stood her ground, she fought back. And as she grew closer and closer to Joshua, she had flashes of memory - as she began to recall moments from her life - and sensation, miraculous gifts of touch, of warmth that she was void of as a ghost. Her relationship with Joshua really did help her feel more alive and I loved watching as she grew.

    Rather than create a stereotypical 'evil guy', Tara fleshed out the 'bad guy' of the story and managed to evoke empathy from the reader. Eli, a fellow ghost whose motives seem to be none too good for Amelia, is a layered character. We're given insight into his past and what spurred his actions and you do end up feeling a bit sympathetic toward him, despite the things he does.

    The worlds of the living and dead collide in this captivating debut novel, filled with intriguing new mythology, endearing characters and a touching romance, with just the right amount of danger. Hereafter will lure you in with it's captivating prose and make you stick around for the haunting tale it has to tell.

    Rating: 4/5

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    Trailer: Passion by Lauren Kate

    The awesome people over at Random House Australia have sent me a great trailer to share with you all for Passion by Lauren Kate. Did you see my review last week? If you're a fan of the series, you'll definitely want to check out the third instalment, which is releasing worldwide on June 14th!

    Anyway, check out the trailer below for Passion. I've got to say, I really like a lot of the book trailers that have come out recently. I never used to watch them, but I've taken an interest lately and the publishers really put the effort in! Kudos to whoever made this one as it does a great job of giving a feel for the book.



    You can check out the cool website for the series at http://www.fallenbooks.com/ and the official Aussie Facebook which has nearly 50,000 fans. They regularly post updates and competitions!

    New Deathly Hallows Part II Clip!

    For those of you who didn't watch the MTV Awards, Emma Watson presented a new clip of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II!! Spoilers ahead! This is the scene in the Forest when Voldemort uses Avada Kedavra on Harry!


    Click the above link. I don't know how to embed that one. There's a HD version on the MTV website, but they've cut off the start of the clip and didn't include the end trailer part. If I can find the full version on youtube, I'll update this post!

    And for those of you who missed the EPIC trailer released in April (or if you, like me, just enjoy watching it 557 times over.), then click. And play. And act like you just swallowed a Fainting Fancy.



    Plus check out the awesome character posters WB released the other week for Part II. Including a badass Neville, Harry, Ron, Hermione Voldemort, Snape, Bellatrix, Draco!

    Are you excited to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II next month? It's going to be such a bittersweet day!! Not that I enjoy bragging *cough* but Australia get it July 13th.  TWO DAYS BEFORE THE U.S! EEEK! But if you factor in time zones, it's more like three days :D

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    Treats for Vampire Academy fans

    For any Vampire Academy fans out there who haven't seen, we've been given some great little teasers over the past few days. First up, Penguin Paranormal have treated fans with a 50 word teaser in celebration of reaching 5000 followers on Facebook:
    "Can you draw a skeleton riding a motorcycle with flames coming out of it? And I want a pirate hat on the skeleton. And a parrot on his shoulder. A skeleton parrot. Or maybe a ninja skeleton parrot? It’d be cool if the biker was shooting some ninja throwing stars."

    Who do you think is saying that? Adrian, maybe? Oh man, I miss my Adrian. I can't wait to see more of him again! Actually, it could also be Jill. We know that girl likes to ramble!

    Richelle Mead has revealed on her blog that the title to the second novel in the Bloodlines series will be: The Golden Lily. Even though we've not yet read the first book (unless you went to BEA, you lucky devil), I find the title fitting given the heavy inclusion of alchemists in the spin-off series. The Golden Lily will be released Spring 2012.

    She also showed a sneak peak of Dimitri's abs! *WHISTLES*, check 'em out, girls (and boys!).


    Who else is excited to get their hands on Bloodlines and the Vampire Academy graphic novel?! Who said no? STRIGOI! STRIGOI! *runs at you with a stake and a fist full of fire*

    Friday, June 3, 2011

    Review: Passion by Lauren Kate


    Author: Lauren Kate
    Release Date: June 14th 2011
    Publisher: Random House
    Add it: Goodreads
    "Every single lifetime, I'll choose you. Just as you have always chosen me. Forever"

    Before Luce and Daniel met at Sword & Cross, before they fought the Immortals, they had already lived many lives. And so Luce, desperate to unlock the curse that condemns their love, must revisit her past incarnations in order to understand her fate. Each century, each life, holds a different clue.

    But Daniel is chasing her throughout the centuries before she has a chance to rewrite history.

    How many deaths can one true love endure? And can Luce and Daniel unlock their past in order to change their future?

    While in the previous novels, we've been given maybe a total of two or three chapters from Daniel's perspective - in Passion each new chapter switches from Luce to Daniel narrative. Torment left us on a cliffhanger after the big showdown, having Luce jump inside one of the Announcers, determined for answers. Passion sees her go from life to life, journeying further and further back into the past as she witnesses the multiple lifetimes she and Daniel shared. She has a trail of angels and nephilim trying to catch up with her, with Daniel right on her heels, desperate to find Luce before she potentially rewrites their entire history.

    In each of the lives she jumps into, Luce learns a little something new. How carrying weight of this curse through each millennium has affected Daniel. How strong and true his love really is. That it's not just the curse that draws them together every time, but the love that's buried deep within their souls. While they're not the earth-shattering revelations and answers we've all been waiting on, they're important for Luce to understand. For her to learn more about Daniel and acknowledge what he's has endured, how he's responded to the events each time. On the other hand, Daniel's chapters provided more insight into the bigger questions. We finally learn the origin of the curse, travelling back to the very moment that changed everything. We also gain a much greater perspective on Cam and what made him turn bad boy.

    As we go further back into Luce and Daniel's lives, civilisations become less... well, civilised. Some lives they've lived, the practices of the people are quite barbaric. It was interesting to see how each past version of both Luce and Daniel acted and interacted within each life. I loved that we saw so many different settings and ages explored in just one book. From Italy to England, Tibet to Egypt, 1900's right back to crazy-long-ago BCE. It was fascinating to get a glimpse into so many different cultures and surroundings and each new way that Daniel and Luce came together... and were torn apart.

    While I did miss many of the secondary characters that I grew to love from the previous novels, they do make a few short appearances. But it's a newcomer that steals the show for me. Bill. Oh, Bill. His addition to Passion is one of my favourite parts about the book. I won't say much about him, because I don't want to ruin anything, but he brings an entirely new element to the series. And a lot of humour. I found myself laughing out loud countless times with the stuff that comes out of his mouth. And while I did have my suspicions about him, he definitely surprised me in the end!

    As always, we're left with a cliffhanger ending. The ending of Passion sets up for what is hopefully going to be a big, climatic showdown in Rapture. Lauren has a talent of building up those final scenes and then leaving us turning the last pages, chanting 'more, more, more!'. But then there is no more, only a page stating that Rapture will be here Spring 2012. And you deflate a little. Because that's over a year away and waiting sucks.

    You've got to give credit to Lauren. I imagine taking on the task of writing a novel that spans 5000 years had to be incredibly daunting at first. When I first heard the third book would be a prequel and we'd see thousands of years of lives, I thought "How the heck will she pull that off?!" but she did so and brilliantly. Passion has it all - history, romance, betrayal and revelations. For fans of Luce and Daniel's romantic saga than has spanned the ages, they won't be disappointed. But be prepared to be left wanting the fourth book asap!

    Rating: 4/5
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