Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Bloggy Birthday To Me!


I've been reading YA book blogs since 2009, but I've been blogging exactly a year (and a day. I thought I started on the 31st December 2010. Turns out I can't remember my bloggy birthday, it was the 30th!) and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I've been apart of many different online communities, but I can say with all honesty that the YA community is THE best I've ever joined. I've made the most gorgeous friends, chatted with my favourite (and future favourite) authors and made connections with the friendliest publicists in all the land. This is a community where no matter who we are in our real lives, we're all equally united here by our love of reading.

Thank you to every single person who reads my posts. Who comments. Who follows (or stalks) my blog. Who is genuinely interested in what I'm writing (even if you're just following for potential giveaways, you're awesome too!). I love you guys so much and I very much hope there is never a day when I stop blogging. Because it's not creepy at all to be a 91 year old tapping away at her computer saying "OMG I WANT A PIECE OF THAT SEXY 17 YEAR OLD BAD BOY."

I can't list individual names because there are so many of you I love. I ADORE every Aussie blogger like crazy. I've grown close to so many of you and you're such a tight-knit, welcoming group of people who always make me laugh or astound me with your sexy awesome ways. And I've have made the most amazing (and potentially craziest) friends from the Philippines, Canada, UK, US and others (but I'm not so great with my geography). I love talking with you guys about books or tv shows or hot guys or whatever else we share a mutual love for. Or just the weird crap that make no sense to the world, but makes my day :)

I must say thanks to Precious from Fragments of Life because while I was umming and ahhhing as many said, "why you no blog?", it was Precious who gave me that final push of encouragement that resulted in what you're reading today. And she was actually my first ever commenter on a dodgy test post which has since been deleted. Thank you so much, Precious! <3

I know most people have some big giveaway planned for their blogoversary, but I can't afford anything huge right now. So I'm just going to do something small. If you've actually made it to the bottom of this post, I am giving one random commenter.... something! I don't know. I'll buy you a mystery book on your wishlist. Or if I have a book you want and you're Aussie, I'll send it to you (don't worry, I'll do research first. I'm good at stalking!). Something involving a book! (I know, I'm so good with the details). Anyone can enter. No advertising, no extra entries, the only thing required is for you to say something nice about someone from the YA community. Whether a reader, blogger, author, publisher, agent.. anyone! Just spread some love! In a week, random.org will do it's thang ;)

And now we celebrate by devouring Jonathan's stolen Harry potter birthday cake because clearly we're all bigger fans than him (sorry Jonathan, you're cool, but.... *noms cake*. Also, can someone get this woman to make my birthday cake?).

I hope you all have an incredible new year! 
(and try not to die. Haven't those 2012 author interviews been giving you any tips for surviving the Apocalypse?)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Review: The Future of Us

Author: Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Release Date: Nov 21st 2011 (US) / Jan 5th 2012 (AU)
Publisher: Razorbill / Simon & Schuster AU
Add it: Goodreads
It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present
When Josh gives Emma a free CD AOL CD he received in the mail, the pair use her new computer to log on to the world wide web.... and find a strange site called Facebook. It's 1996 and Facebook isn't even a  seed in the mind of Mark Zuckerberg. But somehow Emma has logged on.... to her account 15 years in the future. It's such an intriguing premise, using the internet to take a peek into your future. I found myself so compelled to learn what new updates Emma and Josh would find on their profiles and how it would affect them in the present. One ripple in time can change your future in astounding ways. A small thing like spilled water could have a domino effect and change who you marry or where you work.

I was surprised just how much the characters grew on me. Both Emma and Josh are engaging narrators. I loved watching as they matured and their emotions spiralled out of control both from Facebook and one another. Once best friends, Josh started to grow a crush on Emma which resulted in her rejecting him. Cue awkward tension that's lasted the past 6 months. Josh is still into Emma, but she doesn't feel the same way. It was so enjoyable to watch as they rekindled their friendship (with plenty of arguments along the way!) and for Emma to eventually come to terms with the fact that deep down, she might just have feelings for Josh too. Jay and Caroline captured all the awkwardness, confusion and raging emotions of teenage love perfectly.

Josh was a delightful character and it was often amusing reading from his perspective. Despite his disappointment and heartache over being rejected, he wasn't moping around. He still regretted that Emma rejected him, but that didn't mean he wasn't getting on with his life. While initially reluctant with Facebook, he saw what his future could offer and like Emma, that knowledge affected his daily interactions. Although his actions were sometimes a little less deliberate Emma's. He was trying to embrace his, whereas she was constantly trying to change hers because she didn't think she was happy based on her status updates. But we all know social networking sites are a breeding ground for whining (no offense anyone, but we ALL do it haha). She sometimes made stupid decisions that frustrated me, but in a good way, because she felt so realistically flawed. And I could relate to her growing obsession with the future, because I think curiousity would instantly overcome me and I'd be hitting that refresh button 50 times a day just to see if my life was as awesome as my overly exaggerated fantasies suggest it will be.

Knowledge is power. If you had foresight into the future and knew that one small thought or action could change things, would you actively try to alter it? Where would it end, though? It's a downward spiral if you become too invested. You're forever living to create the dream life you want, always looking forward, but never living in the now. The Future of Us is as much a thought-provoking novel as it is a fun and nostalgic look back at the 90's. Endearing characters, friendly nods to the past and a uniquely fascinating premise make this such an addictive read!

4/5 golden apples!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best 11 novels of 2011

Have I mentioned that lists are HARD?! This was possibly my hardest to narrow down, because there are so many amazing novels I've read this year. So I first limited it to just 2011 releases, not 2010 novels I was too slack to read until this year and realised 'Holy Etienne St Clair, that was BRILLIANT.'

Without further ado, these are my top 11 novels of 2011...... but there's TONS more books and amazing authors I've discovered and gaspworthy characters that - alright, let's just get on with it:


Divergent by Veronica Roth
Released: May 3rd 2011 by HarperCollins
Goodreads / My Review

I reread soon after I finished, which is impressive for me because my TBR has gone crazy this year and rereading is a thing of the past. It's such an addictive, explosive novel with jaw-dropping action, twists and one of the most well-developed romances in YA. FOUR AND TRIS! <3



 
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Released: September 27th 2011 by Little, Brown
Goodreads / My Review

This book.... I.... it.... the.. you see..... IT LEFT ME SPEECHLESS. It has one of the most stunning, richly explored world building I have ever had the joy of reading. And the romance is nothing less than breathtaking. There are no other words except: hello. *SWOON*





Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Released: December 2011 by Murdoch Books Australia
Goodreads / My Review

This was released in 2011 in Australia, hence why it's here. But WOW, Veronica. The world building is so fascinating and uniquely different for both characters. The characters themselves will rip your heart out of your chest, because it belongs to them now, not you. PERRY!!!!!!! You beautiful, savage, tender boy. Can I keep you?

 

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Released: September 27th by Simon & Schuster
Goodreads / My Review

Ahh, crap. Excuse the mess. I forgot to clean up from the first time I read this when it blew my mind into a billion pieces. This was such a WTF? OMG! novel. It was painful to set it down for a chapter. AND HOLY HELL, NOAH SHAW. One of the sexiest guys to come out of YA this year. Some girls *COUGH*SONIA*COUGH*KATHY*COUGH* delude themselves into thinking he's theirs. They amuse me.

 
The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
Released: October 26th by Harlequin TEEN
Goodreads / My Review

Oh, Julie Kagawa. You know a way to a girls heart. Then you attack it; blow after blow after blow, but you're smiling and laughing and joking while doing it, so impossible to hate you. That's what The Iron Knight was. Beautifully painful and hopeful and heart-wrenching and heart-warming and oh my gosh, what an amazing ending to the series.

 

Legend by Marie Lu
Released:  November 29th 2011 by Penguin

BADASS. This is the kind of book that shows why I love dystopian novels. Government secrets and betrayals. Pulse-pounding action and a thrilling journey with two main characters who are equals in strength. I grew so invested in both Day and June, I did not want their story to end!


 


Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake
Released: August 30th by Tor Teen

Deliciously creepy. Kendare Blake did not shy away from the horror and gore, but buried at it's heart is a story so tragic and heartbreaking and tender and violent. She kept me hanging on every word, wide-eyed as we uncovered Anna's story. I adored the thrills, I adored the characters and I adored the budding relationship between a terrifying ghost and the boy on a mission to [re]kill her.



Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Released: June 7th 2011 by Little, Brown / Hardie Grant AU

Such a beautifully written story with one of the most unique premises I've come across. A girl who remembers her future, but forgets the past. Cat pulled it off spectacularly. And the romance? HOLY SWEETNESS. Luke and London are so freaking adorable it hurts <3

 


Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Released: August 23rd by Penguin
Goodreads / My Review

ADRIAN IVASHKOV. That is all. I'm a HUGE fan of the Vampire Academy series and Richelle Mead did not disappoint in the spin-off! Sure, Sydney is no Rose. But she's compelling in her own unique way and I may have even liked this more than the first book in the VA series! And how on earth was it possible for Adrian to be even MORE awesome? Because it happened.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Released:  February 1st by HarperTeen / Hodder Australia
Goodreads / My Review

Lauren Oliver kills me. Whether it's her beautiful prose, her unique stories, endearing characters or those terrible cliffhangers THAT MAKE ME WANT TO JUMP OFF THE DAMN CLIFF. Either way, she's fast become one of my favourite authors. Delirium was such a breathtaking novel where she really captures the beauty of love <3

 

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Released: September 29th by Random House
Goodreads / My Review

Zombies are possibly the sweetest creatures ever. Well, some of them. Lia has completely reinvented everything you thought you knew about zombies and crafted a futuristic world of zomibilicious fun and steampunk genius. I loved this!!! Fiesty, spirited heroine and a beautiful, rotting love interest who is - wait for it - HAPPY. He doesn't brood! Dearly Departed brims with action, danger, romance and the most delightful cast of characters, both living and undead.


Gah, this was possibly the hardest list to write!! Because there are so many more amazing novels I want to list, like The Scorpio Races, Shatter Me, Hunting Lila, Waterfall, Blood Song, Lola and the Boy Next Door... the list goes on! And I only used that 'woe is me' line just so I could slip a few more titles in there. Hehe.

What were your favourite novels of 2011?
Sorry Internet Explorer viewers, this list drove me insane because blogger wouldn't code things right. So you might be seeing things that look a little more dodgy than in firefox.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

7 Novels in 2012 YOU must read!

Earlier I posted my Top 12 of 2012 list... aka some of the books I am drooling to get my hands on as soon as possible. This list, however, comprises of the 2012 novels that YOU should be drooling to get your hands on! The following are a select bunch of books I was fortunate enough to read ahead of time and absolutely loved.

Note: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi would probably be on the top of this list, but I decided to feature it on my Top 11 of 2011 since it was released this month in Australia. The rest are in no particular order!


The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date January 2nd by Poppy / Headline AU
Goodreads / My Review

Fans of Stephanie Perkins will eat this up. It's a heartwarming novel that makes you believe in love again. I LOVED all the interactions between Oliver/Hadley <3 They honestly left me with a goofy grin plastered on my face nearly the entire time!


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Cinder by Marssa Meyer
Released January 2012 by Fiewel & Friends / Penguin Australia
Goodreads / My Review

Set in a futuristic world with cyboards, royalty, an evil Queen, a touch of magic and sweet, sweet romance, Cinder is a wonderfully endearing novel! I devoured this and the lovabale characters. I cannot wait to see what the rest of this series has to offer.


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Night School by Christi Daugherty
Released January 5th 2012 by Atom
Goodreads / My Review (will be posted next week)

I only just finished this, but it NEEDS to go on the list. It was such a thrilling, unpredictable novel. Your mind is constantly trying to unravel the riveting mystery. The characters are so likable.... yet at the same time, you're not sure who to trust. No one is really as they seem. Throw in an awesome heroine and addicting romance and you have a knockout debut!

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The Industry by Rose Foster
Released March 20th 2012 by HarperCollins Australia
Goodreads / My Review

A debut Aussie novel that will surely be a hit in 2012! A teen math genius is kidnapped when she cracks an online code.... and so begins a fast-paced rollercoaster of a ride packed tight with action, drama and betrayal. All set to an internationally diverse backdrop. How can you resist?

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A Witch In Winter by Ruth Warburton
Released January 5th 2012 by Hodder Childrens
Goodreads / My Review

Fans of witches and magic will love this! Ruth lures you into this bewitching tale of intriguing magic, crackling romance and two clans on the brink of a deadly war. All of which build up to the explosive showdown that will keep you on the edge of you seat!


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Cold Fury by T.M Goeglein
Released July 24th 2012 by Putnam Juvenile
Goodreads / My Review (coming early January!)

Cinematic writing keeps you glued to the page as you follow along Sara Jane's pulse-pounding journey, with a new danger around every corner. Relentless bad guys, underground criminal society and a dash of romance. Goeglein has crafted a refreshing novel with a headstrong heroine who you can't help but grow to love!


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Darkness Falls (Immortal Beloved #2) by Cate Tiernan
Released: January 5th 2012 by Little, Brown
Goodreads / My Review

Darkness Falls did not fail to impress as the ever-witty and royally messed up Nastasya is thrust back into the world she thought she left behind. She has to face the past and learn to deal with that annoying conscience she's grown. Add in the fascinating, yet deeply complicated romance and we have yet another addictive installment. I cannot wait for the third book!



Have you read any 2012 novels that are absolute MUST reads? Excited for any of the above?

12 Most Anticipated Books of 2012!

Lists are hard. Really hard. How am I supposed to narrow down my most anticipated of 2012 to... JUST 12?!?! What kind of insane person sets themselves such a limit? There are so many incredible books being released next year, these are just a sample of what I'm salivating for.

I'll also be doing a Top 11 of 2011 post and a shorter post of the 2012 books I've read that I'm demanding YOU read next year. Because they're freaking amazing. Anywho, in no particular order of awsomeness. Okay, except perhaps Insurgent, since I clearly state it's my #1...


Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Released: May 1st 2012 by HarperCollins
Add it: Goodreads

Possibly my most anticipated book of 2012. I DEVOURED Divergent (more than once). Veronica blew me away with such a thrilling, action-packed, jaw-dropping debut, so anything she has planned with Insurgent to top that.... oh boy. I'm not sure I'm prepared. Plus, FOUR!




The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Released: April 24th 2012 by HarlequinTEEN
Add it: Goodreads

Having recently become a Julie Kagawa fangirl, I'm pretty much frothing at the mouth for ANY new novel she writes. But this sounds freaking BRILLIANT.  Who said vampires have lost their bite? They're about to make a groundbreaking mark in dystopia with Julie at the helm.





The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
Released: June 19th 2012 by Penguin
Add it: Goodreads
It's a Richelle Mead novel. With Adrian Ivashkov. Seriously? I need to explain this? I absolutely loved the new story Richelle brought to Bloodlines and if there's anything I've learnt from her books, it's they get better and better as the series progresses. More dhampirs? Strigoi? Alchemists? Adrian? YES PLEASE!





The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Released: May 10th by St. Martin's Press /
May 10th by Simon & Schuster UK/AU
Add it:
Goodreads

WHOA. This sounds like such a creepy, creepy, creepy amazing dystopian novel. Plus the awesome Caroline at Simon & Schuster Australia has been gushing about this and I trust her fantastic taste in books, so...IS IT MAY YET?!

 


Fated by Sarah Alderson
Released: January 5th 2012 by Simon & Schuster
Add it: Goodreads

Did you miss the part where it said 'Sarah Alderson'? That's a two word excuse to read any book. I loved Hunting Lila, so I know Sarah won't disappoint. Plus Fated sounds all kinds of badass and yeah, maybe I totally want to meet the sexy Lucas :)



 
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
Released: May 8th 2012 by Farra, Straus and Girroux
Add it: Goodreads

Does that cover not scream power?  I'd buy it for the pretty, but the synopsis has me... well... STRUCK by it's awesomeness. The heroine is a lightening addict. A LIGHTENING ADDICT. That's insane. And thrilling. I am so fascinated. And there are Doomsday cults. And an alluring boy who may not be trustworthy. ARE YOU SOLD YET?



Revived by Cat Patrick
Released:  May 8th 2012 by Egmont/Hardie Grant
Add it: Goodreads

Yet another author who has fast become a favourite of mine this year. Cat's debut novel, Forgotten, has permanently carved a place in my heart *happy sigh* So naturally I'm intrigued by her newest offering... which has PEOPLE COMING BACK FROM THE DEAD. No, not zombies. Sinister government agencies. OOOH mysterious!!


 
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Released: August 21st 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Girroux
Add it: Goodreads

Mermaids. Ghosts. Curses. IN THE ONE NOVEL. Three words and I'm HOOKED. The gorgeous cover also helps. I also love how the past/present seem to collide. This book has such a fascinating combination of elements that have the potential to form a standout novel of 2012.

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
Released: August 7th 2012 by St. Martin's Press
Add it: Goodreads

Implanted computer chips in humanity. Thoughts replaced by a 'network' feed. And then the heroine malfunctions and starts to feel her OWN thoughts... you know, act like a freaking human being, not a controlled robot. I LOVE the premise for this. Throw in some supernatural abilities and... *cries* WHYY is it not out until August?!




Wrecked by Anna Davies
Relased:  May 1st 2012 by Simon & Schuster
Add it: Goodreads

Alright, let's just start with the glaringly obvious: SEXY COVER!!! Verrry hot. If you enlarge it, are they very faint scales on his chest? I swear that's the only reason I was looking so closely...... Anyway, mermaids! I think 2012 is the year of the mermaid.




Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Released: March  2012 by HarperTeen / Hodder & Stoughton
Add it: Goodreads

WHATKINDOFPERSONLEAVESUSWITHACLIFFHANGERLIKETHAT?! Yeah, with the way Delirium ended, I am desperate to see what's going to happen next! And Lauren Oliver has such gorgeous prose. Both Delirium and Before I Fall were such beautiful novels <3





So Close To You by Rachel Carter
Released: July 10th 2012 by HarperCollins
Add it: Goodreads

Time travel! Creepy government experiments! Messing with history! Darkly mysterious boy! It had me at 'time travel', anything else is just sadistically trying to make me faint. This sounds amazing and I love the stormy cover!





What books are you willing to sell your soul to read in 2012? 
 Seriously, please tell me, I'm making lists of souls to steal. Muahahaha. *scours blogosphere for the pretty, sparkly, innocent ones*


I removed the cover for Glitch, because I don't think it's been 'officially' released. I saw it on another blog and Goodreads, but it's since been taken down from Goodreads. So I just want to play it safe!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: Girl, Missing

Author: Sophie Mckenzie
Release Date: Already out, buy a copy!
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Add it: Goodreads
Lauren has always known she was adopted but when a little research turns up the possibility that she was snatched from an American family as a baby, suddenly Lauren's life seems like a sham. How can she find her biological parents? And are her adoptive parents really responsible for kidnapping her? She manages to wangle a trip across the Atlantic where she runs away to try and find the truth. But the circumstances of her disappearance are murky and Lauren's kidnappers are still at large and willing to do anything to keep her silent...


Who Am I? It's a loaded question that most of us have had to ask ourselves at some point and usually struggle with an answer. But it's a question that runs much deeper for Lauren Matthews, who was adopted when she was 3 years old. She has no idea that a simple piece of homework will impact her for the rest of her life. Tired of never getting an answer from her parents about her biological family, she searches online and comes across a Missing Persons website.... where she finds a little girl who who disappeared 11 years ago. Exactly when she was adopted. A girl who frighteningly sounds like Lauren.

When she runs away with her best friend Jam in tow, the pair soon realise how messy and suspicious the situation is. Could the parents she's loved and fought with her entire life really be responsible for kidnapping her? The deeper they digs, the more dangerous things become because not everyone wants the past to be uncovered. And some will go to scary lengths to keep it buried.

Lauren does lack some foresight or logic. She doesn't give thought to the long-term consequences her actions will have on others. But given her age, I could excuse her often rash behaviour. There's a mission, an end goal, and she wants to reach it. She just doesn't consider what might happen after she reaches it. She's forced to face a lot of ugly truths in life. Secrets are unearthed along the way, danger is rampant and the pains of the past are finally confronted. But will anyone find a happy ending afterward?

Sophie really dug deep and explored the ramifications this had on everyone. Both the legal and the emotional. On Lauren, on her adoptive family, on Jam and especially on her biological family. I think it's fair to say that her real mother, Anne, has been the most affected by this. She left her baby girl alone for mere minutes, but that's all it takes. And for any mother to lose her child, it leaves a deep, aching wound on their soul. Those years of not knowing - is she alive or dead? No sign or whisper. Just a neverending period of waiting, waiting, waiting for some clue that may never come. It's a yearning, a sadness, that's infected the whole family.

There is a sweet, budding romance that develops between Lauren and Jam, who've been best friends since forever. It was cute to read and added that extra touch to the compelling mystery. While at times there is a certain amount of predictability and disbelieving moments given their age, Girl Missing makes for a fast-paced read with writing that's easy to fall into, but hard to pull out of.  It's that kind if novel that proves nothing in life is clean-cut. If you dig deep enough you'll find that every situation, every action, is layered with desperation, hope, love, greed or power. This is a novel of one girls quest to find herself, but learns the answer to that question is never easy.

3.5/5 stars!

Monday, December 26, 2011

2012 Author Interview & Giveaway: Robin LaFevers!

You still have a little time to enter to win WELCOME, CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE by Shelley Coriell! Giveaway will end Monday 26th December 11:59pm US EST. Hurry!

Introducing 2012 author #7, who's determined to survive the zombie apocalypse... of course, having an 'in' with the God of Death in her new novel sure helps. Welcome, Robin LaFevers!
Why should Santa fill every stocking next year with a copy of Grave Mercy? 
Crossbows! Assassin nuns! Poisons! Court Intrigue! Tested loyalties! Hard choices! Forbidden love! Who doesn’t want a little bit of all of that in their Christmas stocking!

What is the best or worst Christmas gift you've ever received? 
Best Christmas ever—when I was seven years old and I got a Madame Alexander doll, The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and a microscope. I was in heaven!

What's been your favourite YA novel of 2011? 
Favorite YA novel: Oo, it would be a toss up between Liar’s Moon by Elizabeth Bunce and Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan.

And your most desperately needed of 2012? 
Cannot wait for the 3rd book, Immortal Light, in Cate Tiernan’s Immortal Beloved Trilogy.

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). 
As for the zombie apocalypse—Of course I plan to survive any apocalypse! I will be hunkered down behind the gates, recording it all for posterity.

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
Grave Mercy is released April 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Follow Robin's website / blog / twitter / facebook 

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Want to win an ARC of Grave Mercy?

The amazing Robin has so been kind enough to donate an ARC of Grave Mercy for one lucky bookworm to win! I'm almost tempted to enter myself! How amazing does this book sound?

Details:
  • Open internationally
  • To gain an entry, you only need fill out your name and email.
  • Ends 2nd January 2012 at 11:59pm.
  • All winners will be posted in January.
Extra Entries:
  • +2 Add Grave Mercy 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).
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Giveaway has now closed and the winner has been contacted. All weekly winners will be posted in January once the event is over!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

In My Mailbox #29

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

I am really excited to read BZRK, it sounds like it's going to be a crazy good read. Not many early reviews to go on just yet, but I know Braiden rated it 5 stars... so I hope I love it too! And I cannot wait to see what Lee Nichols has in store for Emma in Betrayals.

Obsidian was a FANTASTIC surprise! I won a book from my wonderful blogger friend, Kathy, but it was a Secret Santa giveaway where you had to list your 5 books from your wishlist. So while I knew I won, I had no idea what she was sending. VERY happy with her choice, I can't wait to meet the sexy Daemon!  Thank you, Kathy! <3

What's in your mailbox this week?

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For those who celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and may your stocking be filled with so many books it falls apart!

It may be too late to put my plea in now, Santa, since you're only a few hours away from making your deliveries across Australia. But if you're able to check in online before you get to my house, I promise I'll leave out the good cookies (not the stale ones or glass of milk laced with... um, anyway) if you take me off the naughty list. Because...
Sigh.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Art Reveal: Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne!

I am so excited to be revealing the 9th piece of stunning art for Sara Wilson Etienne's debut novel, HARBINGER. Given the breathtaking cover (which is probably one of my absolute favourites of 2011), I was ecstatic to be offered the opportunity!

If you haven't heard of HARBINGER, then I am pleased to inform you of the new international law that has just passed. You are hereby required to lust over the beautiful cover, wipe the drool off your face and then proceed to read the captivating synopsis. Once you've relocated your jaw  - because wow, it sounds amazing! - you must add it to your wishlist. And then plead your case to Santa for him to preorder you a copy (if you've been naughty, you'll have to buy it yourself!).



Add it: Goodreads
Preorder: The Book Depository / Amazon
When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast.

But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.
Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.

Rich, compelling writing will keep the pages turning in this riveting and tautly told psychological thriller.

And now a for this week's gorgeous reveal from Drew Etienne....

Walk the Path! Explore the whole gallery of HARBINGER-inspired artwork at www.holbrookacademy.com/sketchbook.php
HARBINGER by Sara Wilson Etienne debuts February 2, 2012.
Follow Sara: @wilsonetienne
Visit Sara: www.sarawilsonetienne.com

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday #41

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: Chris Colfer
Release Date: August 7th 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Add it: Goodreads
Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairytales.

The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.

But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

 
Author: Jamie Case
Release Date: January 6th 2012
Publisher: Picayune
Add it: Goodreads
Almost seventeen-year-old Josephine Jack had it all: great parents, cool friends, and a crush on the cusp of something special. Then within the space of a few seconds, it was all gone.

Set adrift in an overwhelming afterlife, Jo is desperate to reclaim what she lost. When she accepts an assignment as a tutelary—a spirit guardian for the underage—it seems like her wish might even be granted. But on her return she discovers that nasty surprises await the departed who don’t stay departed. And as Jo grapples with betrayal, loss, and regret she will have to answer a most troubling question.

How do you find the meaning of life if you're already dead?

The Land of Stories: I think this will gain a lot of popularity in large part due to the author - Chris Colfer aka Kurt Hummel from Glee! But it also sounds SO good. I'm assuming it's middle-grade, which I don't ordinarily read a lot of, but having recently become obsessed with the tv show Once Upon A Time, I'm desperate for more fairy-tale style stories and this satisfies my hunger perfectly!

Death and Other Excuses: I love reading about anything that deals with the afterlife, so that's an instant hook. It sounds like it will deal with a lot of different emotional issues and I'm curious to see what those nasty surprises she discovers as a spirit guardian.... poor Jo!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Review: The Other Life

Author: Susanne Winnacker
Release Date: February 1st 2012, preorder a copy!
Publisher: Usbourne
Add it: Goodreads
Sherry and her family have lived sealed in a bunker in the garden since things went wrong up above. Her grandfather has been in the freezer for the last three months, her parents are at each other’s throats and two minutes ago they ran out of food.

Sherry and her father leave the safety of the bunker and find a devastated and empty LA, smashed to pieces by bombs and haunted by ‘Weepers’ - rabid humans infected with a weaponized rabies virus.

While searching for food in a supermarket, Sherry’s father disappears and Sherry is saved by Joshua, a boy-hunter. He takes her to Safe-haven, a tumble-down vineyard in the hills outside LA, where a handful of other survivors are picking up the pieces of their ‘other lives’. As she falls in love for the first time, Sherry must save her father, stay alive and keep Joshua safe when his desire for vengeance threatens them all.
Three years ago, six people entered their family bunker. Five are still breathing the same air, trapped and desperate to escape the monotonous days. One lay dead in the freezer. And two minutes ago, the last morsel of food was eaten. Their only chance at survival is to brave the outside world where an even scarier fate awaits. A virus spread three years ago, infecting humans with a monstrous rabies that can turn even the sweetest of souls into a terrifying beast with an overzealous taste for human flesh. The LA they once knew is now a shell of it's former self - death, destruction and desolation reflect back from every window.

When Sherry and her father go in search for food, it doesn't take long for them to run into the awful zombie-like creatures known as Weepers. While the attack brings a new companion into Sherry's life - fellow survivor, Joshua - her father is kidnapped. She has no idea whether he's alive, dead or turned into something unnatural. But at least she's not alone. Joshua takes her back to Safe-Haven, a place where the last few survivors in the area call home. Their numbers may be few, but they've managed to stay alive, to hold onto their humanity, despite the horrors each have faced. Some worse than others, but all equally tragic.

As Sherry and Joshua go in search for her father, she has to face some inner demons. Understandably, she struggles with the idea of killing something that was once human. Murderous beasts they may be, but these were once ordinary people just like her. They laughed, they cried, they loved. They had families. But all thanks to a cruel twist of fate, they've lost all sense of who they are. It's a kill-or-be-killed situation and she knows she needs to find her father before it's too late. She's has no choice but to grow up fast. Heck, this would mess with the head of a person twice, even three times her age, so for a 15 year old, it's a remarkable feat.

Joshua has a mysterious past that is clearly full of pain and anger. There's a sort of reckless fury to him, which isn't so great when he's out there fighting Weepers. Sure, he's capable of taking them down, but his heart is screaming for vengeance and he sometimes doesn't bother to consider the risks before jumping into action. As you grow to learn more about him, his reasons become justified and you can't help but feel for what he's endured. He and Sherry grow closer in that sweet, coming-of-age / first-love type of way, a romance that manages to blossom despite the fear that threatens to suffocate them all.

The ending brings with it some shocking secrets, which spin the story in a whole new direction and promises for a pretty awesome book two. I think The Other Life can be enjoyed by both the younger and older market of YA. It sucked me in from the beginning and held me captivated as we journey through the bleak and dangerous landscape of Los Angeles. Action, fear and danger run rampant, but the darkness can't wilt the blossoming of love and hope. Their greatest strength may not lay in numbers, but the desire to fight, to survive, burning strong within each character is enough to spur them on against the nightmare that stalks them day and night.

4/5 Golden Apples!

Monday, December 19, 2011

2012 Author Interview & Giveaway: Shelley Coriell


You still have a little time to enter to win a preorder of THE HUNT by Andrew Fukuda! Giveaway will end Monday 19th December 11:59pm US EST. Hurry!

Introducing 2012 author #6, who plans to brave the apocalypse with.... desserts! Peeta Mellark would be proud <3 Welcome, reader, this is Shelley Coriell!

Why should Santa fill every stocking next year with a copy of Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe? 
CHLOE has something for everyone: sparkly vintage shoes, mistletoe, garbage games, and a lovable bunch of misfits who are fighting to keep their school's struggling radio station alive. Picture GLEE in a high school radio station. CHLOE also stars a big-hearted girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She's not afraid to love hard and share her truths. The world needs more love and truth. Therefore the world needs more CHLOE. There's a mathematical principle tucked in there somewhere, but math makes my head hurt. Santa gets math...and CHLOE.

What is the best Christmas gift you've ever received?
A drawer full of cute pajamas. Back story: Three years ago I announced to family and friends I was giving up the day job to write fiction. That Christmas many bought me pajamas so I looked "good" while tackling my new "job." IMPORTANT NOTE: Surround yourself with good people who celebrate you and your dreams. Hug them often.

What's been your favourite YA novel of 2011?
THE NAME OF THE STAR by Maureen Johnson. So much to love...a snarky heroine, a London boarding school, a dash of history, and ghosts. I also have a major crush on THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson. I knoooooow...it came out in 2010. I read it then, and I read it again in 2011. And I'll read it again in 2012. Exquisite teen girl contemporary fiction.

And your most desperately needed of 2012?
I'm on a serious history kick right now, so I'll go with GILT by Katy Longshore and A BREATH OF EYRE by Eve Marie Mont.

Do you have any plans to survive and/or fight the 2012 Apocalypse? 
I shall bake blackberry cobbler, Oreo cheesecake, and triple-chocolate chunk brownies. Armed with these sweet treats, I'm ready to tackle the evils of this world and beyond.


Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe is released May 1st 2012 by Amulet Books
Follow Shelley's website / blog / twitter / facebook 

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