Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cover reveal, Excerpt & win an ARC! BLACK CITY by Elizabeth Richards

I am so, so, so excited to be one of the bloggers revealing not only the stunning cover for Elizabeth Richards' debut novel, BLACK CITY, but also an amazing sneak peek of the story + your chance to win one of the first few ARCs! Is that the recipe for an epic post? I think so.

So without further ado... I introduce to you the absolutely gorgeous cover art! Seriously guys, how eye-catching is this? Although devastating. Something once sweet and beautiful bloomed amidst the bleak darkness of the city, and now it's being brutally torn apart. But oh, what a perfect representation of the story! (although everyone has their own interpretation of things, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!)

A huge thanks to Penguin Books for Younger Readers for the all the hard work in putting this together and allowing me to take part!

Black City by Elizabeth Richards
November 13th 2012 by G.P Putnam's Sons
A dark and tender postapocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection, that causes Ash’s long dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.
_________________________

Chapter Preview - Black City by Elizabeth Richards

1.

ASH

An air raid siren wails in the distance, alerting Black City citizens to lock their doors and turn out the lights. They don’t want to be out in the dark alone. They might meet something dangerous. Something like me.
I head under the canal bridge and wait for the girl, taking a packet of Sentry-regulation smokes from my back pocket and sparking up. The nicotine courses through my veins, making them throb with adrenaline; the sensation is almost like a pulse . . . almost.
Footsteps approach the bridge, and a short girl with straggly black hair appears from the shadows, dressed in men’s work boots, tight black trousers and a tailcoat made from a patchwork of clashing fabrics. Her hazel eyes gaze up into mine. She’s brave. Not many cherry-poppers have the courage to look me in the eyes. She hands me an old playing card with two hearts on it, one red, one black. It’s my calling card. It seemed an appropriate choice; that’s what I’m selling her after all, an illusion of love. I slip it into the pocket of my dark green military jacket.
“You’re late,” I say. “Last thing I need is to be caught out here after curfew by a Tracker. They’re just begging for a reason to throw me in jail.”
“Sorry, they’ve put up extra checkpoints, stopping everyone. There’s tanks everywhere!” she babbles. “I guess they can’t be too careful with the Sentry Emissary back in the city, what with the boundary negotiations with the Legion and—”
“You paid Beetle?” I interrupt.
The girl nods.
“Terms and conditions,” I say. “No refunds. You don’t enjoy it, you puke, you freak—not my problem, okay?”
She nods again.
“You pregnant?” She blushes furiously. “I’ll take that as a no. It may cause drowsiness, so don’t drive or operate any heavy machinery.” She smiles at this, and I grin. They always like that. “And no repeats for at least two weeks, all right? I mean it.”
“That all?”
“No kissing. Strictly business, okay?”
She seems a little disappointed by this, but I don’t like to mix business with pleasure. She shyly unbuttons the collar of her coat, revealing her slim, pale neck. Hunger grips my stomach at the sight.
“What do I do?” she asks.
“Lean back,” I say.
She obeys like a good girl. I place a hand against the wall and slip my other hand between her thighs, gently easing her legs apart. Touching her doesn’t turn me on, but I groan like it does, knowing she’ll enjoy that. They all do, even the guys—it’s why they come to me instead of the Haze dens. I slide my body between her thighs so we’re face-to-face. Her shallow breaths are warm against my cool skin.
“Relax, okay? It’s more enjoyable if you relax.”
“My heart’s pounding a mile a minute.” She gives a nervous laugh.
“Can’t say I know how that feels,” I admit.
She tentatively presses a hand against my chest, and her eyes widen. “So it’s true, then? You don’t have a heart?”
“I have a heart,” I growl, shoving her hard against the wall. It just doesn’t beat.
A small tear snakes down her cheek, her thin lips trembling.
“Sshhh, it’s okay, sweetheart. I didn’t mean to frighten you.” I gently wipe her tear away. “Forgive me?”
She nods, then tilts her head to one side, exposing the smooth whiteness of her neck. The poison sacs behind my fangs swell with venom.
Focus, Ash. Don’t blow your load.
I lean toward her, pressing my lips against the soft flesh on her neck, just below her ear. Her pulse flutters under my lips, and I nearly lose it. I begin to nibble on the flesh, tickling the tiny hairs on her neck with my tongue, making them wet with my saliva.
“Do it,” she whispers.
So much for foreplay. I sink my fangs into her jugular. Hot blood spills over my tongue, making my taste buds burst with its sticky sweetness. Man, I love the newbies; they always taste the best. She sighs as my venom enters her bloodstream. I wait for the Haze to take effect before I start to drink from her. That’s the bonus of Haze; my clients get high from me, and I get high from them by drinking their drugged blood. It’s win-win.
A sour, bitter flavor suddenly floods my mouth, and I gag, leaping back.
“What the—” I spit up blood.
The girl stares at me with glazed eyes, blood trickling down the two puncture wounds in her neck.
“Everything’s sparkling,” she says dreamily.
“Didn’t Beetle tell you I don’t take clients on meds?”
She lurches toward me, and I grab her before she falls into the water.
“I love you,” she slurs, trying to kiss me.
I shove her, hard. She falls back against the wall and slides to the floor. Her eyes roll back into her head, and she begins to spasm, white foam bubbling out the corners of her mouth.
“No, no, no! Wake up.” I kneel down and shake her, panic rushing through me.
The girl jerks, her boots leaving black scuff marks on the cobblestones. Fragg! This is why I don’t take clients on meds. You can never tell how they’re going to react to the Haze. I shrug off my jacket and place it under her head.
A Sentry tank rolls over the bridge, and I shut my eyes and wait for it to pass. Even though the war is officially over, I still get chills at that sound. Wherever they went, Death followed. I had a few close scrapes during the war. During those days, the fact that I was a legal citizen and half human didn’t mean much to them. If you weren’t 100 percent human, you were the enemy. Every day was a fight for survival. Not much has improved since then; I’m still the enemy in most people’s eyes. All they can see is the Darkling in me. The tank turns down Bleak Street toward the Sentry Emissary’s headquarters.
The girl groans. It’s too dangerous here; I have to go. I could just leave her . . . No, that’s not an option, but I can’t take her to the hospital. I’d get in so much trouble.
Beetle!
I peer down the canal. A yellow barge is moored about one hundred feet away. The lights are off. Where is he? He’s meant to be my wingman; that’s why I came to the bridge in the first place. Can this get any wor—
An explosion of pain bursts inside my chest, and I clutch a hand over my lifeless heart. I sense someone behind me and turn.
A girl stands by the entranceway, lit by the headlamps of a passing truck. In the fleeting light, I catch a glimpse of cornflower-blue eyes flicking between me and the Hazer writhing on the ground.
Her gaze finally fixes on me.
I fall back, struck down, as the pain in my chest blooms again.
Shivers run through my body, rushing toward a single point in my chest. There’s a spark of electricity and then:
A flutter.



WHAT?! DON'T END! DON'T END! I WANT MORE! MORE! MORE! Wow. How gripping, intense, and absolutely thrilling was that excerpt? And that's just an EXCERPT. My mind is going into overdrive pondering what else Elizabeth has in store for us. Black City looks set to be a darkly fascinating read and has officially marked itself as one of my most anticipated novels of 2012!

WANT TO WIN AN ARC?!

by the amazing author, Elizabeth Richards!

The incredible team at Penguin Books for Younger Readers are giving one lucky reader from my blog the chance to win a printed galley (ARC) of BLACK CITY months before it's release!! You also have tons more chances to win from the other amazing bloggers involved in this! You can find a full list of those participating on Elizabeth's BLOG. Make sure you visit them all and enter!

And because Penguin just like to outdo their own levels of awesome, all winners of the ARCs will also go into the draw to win 1 of 5 exclusive drawings of the main characters - Ash and Natalie -  personalised and autographed by Elizabeth Richards. Above, is a photo of the sketch, but each of the 5 sketches will all be unique in their own way! Winners will be chosen randomly by Elizabeth.

 Rules:
  • Open internationally
  • Ends 12th March 2012
  • Mandatory entry = name/email/comment
  • Extra entries for advertising and adding to Goodreads


If the embedded form is not showing for you, please click this link to enter!


Elizabeth Richards lives in Buckinghamshire, England and can be found online at www.theredpenofdoom.wordpress.com

Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning journalist and debut author, who spent her early career writing for videogame publications such as CUBE, P2 and GamesTM,and now works as a website editor. Previously, she ran a successful lifestyle website aimed at teenage girls. She won the Jane Hayward Young Journalist of the Year award for her feature on girls in the games industry, and was named 'Editor's Choice' in the industry trade magazine, MCV.

Valentine's Blog Event: Interview Feature - Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart

My very last Valentine's post for February! Excuse me, I'm a little emotional *takes a moment to compose self* Ahem. I'm happy to close this month with the ever lovely, all-Australian, Rhiannon Hart! She's the author of one of my favourite novels of 2011 - BLOOD SONG. If you haven't yet read my review listing all the reasons why you must read this book, THEN GO CHECK IT OUT NOW.

Oh, you're back so soon? Well then, why don't I treat you with a fancy mock interview feature Rhiannon wrote - ripped straight from the Pergamian Standard society pages -  giving a glimpse into the personal lives of Zeraphina and Rodden, set between book one and two. But get your swords ready, I think our dear Rodden needs some persuasion to open up a little!
Rhiannon Hart - Mock Interview Feature

On the eve of Amaternost, the early summer celebration of love and romance, Constantino Belfur of the Pergamian Standard society pages met with the two greatest enigmas of the season: new arrival Princess Zeraphina of Amentia, sister to the future queen, and stalwart figure Rodden Lothskorn, king’s man, in an attempt to tease out the true meaning of their unlikely friendship.

When I encounter Princess Zeraphina she is fresh from riding, perspiration covering her brow and dust coating her riding clothes. In fact, there is little on her person suggests her royal heritage. She is devoid of ornamentation. But there is something undeniably regal in her manner: she possesses the gravity that one would expect from a newly minted queen, rather than a younger princess. My attempt to address her as “your highness” is met with a scowl. “Call me by my given name, please,” she insists.

Many call her a private princess. She is seldom at court despite her sister’s constant presence, newlywed Princess Lilith and darling of the Pergamian people. I spoke with the future queen while I was attempting to run her little sister to ground. There is a clear-eyed happiness to Princess Lilith’s features, so different from her stormy sister.

“Fina”—Lilith’s pet name for Zeraphina—“hasn’t always been so reluctant in company. And it’s not that she’s shy,” she protests. When asked what may have inspired such reluctance, Lilith thinks for several minutes and confesses she does not know. “It’s just her age,” she says with a shrug.

Zeraphina is no stranger to scandal. The rumours abounding about her lineage ran riot at court for a time, but have been firmly squashed by our King Askar. The confirmation is surprising from that quarter, in its genesis at least, if not its perpetuation. I was able to trace the source to none other than our living riddle, Rodden Lothskorn.

Lothskorn is an imposing figure amongst the slight, fair-haired Pergamians, and I confess to feeling a little out of my depth upon confrontation with him. His heritage has been oft talked of too. He’s a difficult man to persuade, and I find myself conducting our interview in the corner of a courtyard while Lothskorn grips a riding crop in one hand. He too is fresh from the stables and refuses to retire to any other location for our discourse.

 “I came to Xallentaria from Jefsgaad, where I worked for the captain of the guard there,” Lothskorn says. “Before that, I grew up in Pol.” Pol is the capital city of Verapine, the desert nation across the Osseran Sea west of Pergamia. No trace of Lothskorn’s native accent remains. He hints that he was grown when he made the crossing, so an effort must have been made to expunge it.

Lothskorn is all too aware of his mysterious status, and indeed a faint smile crosses his usually stony features when I draw his attention to it: he’s not without a sense of irony, and I predict the rest of my interview attempt will come to naught. My remaining questions are met with a firm, no comment. The only other sentence he strings together is, “That is a matter of security.” It’s said several times. My arch response that the procurement of Princess Zeraphina’s stunning peacock dress for what was originally her farewell ball can hardly be a matter of security is met with a glower.

Zeraphina is not yet as skilled at evasion as her riding partner, and I put to her many of the questions about Lothskorn that I put to him. “He doesn’t talk about himself, I’m afraid.”

Speaking of Lothskorn does soften her features somewhat, and when I question her about her feelings for him, Zeraphina becomes silent. She gazes out the window for a moment. “Rodden is easy to misunderstand. I was mistaken in my impression of him for a long time. There are days when I find him incredibly frustrating, and days when I know I couldn’t be without him.” Here she blushes, and refuses to say more.

This reporter is painfully aware that he has cast little light on the mystery surrounding the connection between the unlikely pair. There is little doubt that there is more to be discovered. So be comforted, reader, that court secrets rarely stay secret for long. 

*snorts* Why does it not surprise me that Rodden is frustratingly vague with his answers? Well no, he's less than vague isn't he? Wait until you see him in the book! You want to simulatenously jump his bones and tear at his chest! Have you read BLOOD SONG already? Or eager to become a new fan? Trust me, you want to, this is such a fantastic novel!

Now bid farewell to our Valentine's month over on Lisa's blog, where she's ending with a super adorable scene from Tera Lynn Childs!

And that's a wrap!! All giveaways (except for the Boyfriend Battle, which ends tomorrow) will end Tuesday, March 6th 3:59pm AEST (which is Monday 11:59pm US EST). Lisa and I will be doing a wrap-up/thank you post with a list of the winners later next week.

You guys have been absolutely amazing. We'll gush more about you all in our wrap-up post, but just know how much we appreciate you making this such a success! Good luck in the giveaways and we hope you've enjoyed the month! We definitely have! <3

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Valentine's Blog Event: Excerpt - BOURNE by Lisa Bergren

It's our second last day of posting! *tear* But what better way to treat you, as the month draws to an end, than with an excerpt from Lisa Bergren's e-novella, BOURNE! If you haven't read the Waterfall series yet, the below excerpt does contain SPOILERS! So isn't now as good a time as any to start Waterfall?!

This series is amazing. Sisters Gabriella and Lia Beterrini accidentally time-travel back to 14th century Italy... smack-bang in the middle of battle. These books are filled to the brim with action, suspense, danger, family loyalty and romance! Not convinced? Even after reading my reviews of WATERFALL and CASCADE?  I'm hurt, but maybe reading an excerpt of the first book will tempt you? Go, go, go!

Excerpt - From Chapter 3 of BOURNE by Lisa Bergren

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVE NOT READ WATERFALL, CASCADE AND TORRENT!

My eyes moved up to the guards on the walls and saw that they watched me, recognized my tears. Their faces told me they noted my compassion, bonded with me further because of it. But I looked away, unable to bear it. How long until they, too, were like these before me?

“Patrol approaches!” called out a guard. “And a second, right behind them!”

Rodolfo rode in first at a canter, astride his massive gray gelding, and caught sight of me and my tearstained face before I could duck my head. His men were right behind him, two of them clearly wounded. But his attention was solely on me. He whirled his horse around and dismounted before he was fully at a stop. He hurried over to me and eased an arm around my shoulders. “Gabriella,” he said, his voice a moan in shared grief before he even knew what pained me. “Is it Marcello?”

I glanced at him in confusion. His tone held both fear and hope. Which outweighed the other? “Nay,” I said, shaking my head and sliding out of his uncomfortably familiar embrace. The guards…everyone would see! See his obvious attention, undue care…

“Then what burdens you so?” he asked, still holding my hand in both of his, insistent.

But then the second patrol rode in, Luca at the front, his face a mask of fury. I did a double take, so unfamiliar was his expression. Gone was the playful, fun Luca; in his place was solely a warrior on point. “Greco!” he screamed, charging toward us.

I frowned in confusion and alarm. Rodolfo took my hand and pulled me to the right to avoid Luca’s horse, but this seemed to only aggravate Luca further. He jumped to the ground and ran toward us. Rodolfo eased me behind him, just before Luca struck him. Hard. A massive belt to the cheek.

Rodolfo stumbled to the side, but kept his feet. And my hand.

“Luca!” I cried, reaching out toward him with my other.

But he ignored me, his attention only on Rodolfo. “Unhand m’lord’s wife,” he seethed.

Rodolfo let go of my hand and lifted both of his to the air in a sign of submission. Luca moved so close that they were chest to chest, his face a snarl of challenge, while Rodolfo’s was resigned.

“Nay! Stop!” I cried, trying to part them but failing. “What…what has transpired?”

“This man,” Luca seethed, tapping Rodolfo’s chest as if he wanted to pierce it, “went out there”—he gestured angrily above the wall—“with a wish to meet the Angel of Death.”

I glanced back in confusion, but Rodolfo just slowly wiped the blood from a small cut in his cheek and stared hard at Luca.

“Of what do you speak?” I asked Luca, fully facing him now.

“We came across more Fiorentini,” he said, pacing, shaking his head as if trying to figure it out himself. “I commanded he hold in formation, to wait, but Rodolfo charged, instead. But for the hand of God, they all might’ve been killed.”

“I knew you would come to our aid in time,” Rodolfo said in a monotone. I gave him a hard look, but he wouldn’t return my gaze, still watching Luca as if he couldn’t be trusted. Which he probably couldn’t. The other men formed a semicircle around us, watching. Waiting.

“Why?” I asked. “Luca is the captain in charge of any knight that departs these gates. Even you, so new to us, understood this.”

Still, Rodolfo wouldn’t look at me.

Luca neared again, and Rodolfo tensed. Luca was shorter than Rodolfo by several inches, but you’d never know it by his demeanor. He got right up into Rodolfo’s face again. “Because he’s wracked by guilt,” Luca said.

He looked over at me meaningfully, and I felt an arrow go through my heart. What was that? Guilt over my own memories?

Others neared. My Dad, with Tomas. Captain Pezzati and his patrol rode in. “Let us go to the Great Hall and speak of this in private,” I said.

“Nay!” Luca shouted, making me jump. His face collapsed in sorrow. He shook his head and rubbed his neck with a grimy hand, which he then lifted to me, begging me in gesture. “Forgive me, m’lady, but permit me to see this through. In Marcello’s absence…”
He took my silence as all the permission he needed. He moved toward Rodolfo again. “You are my brother.” He angrily rolled up his sleeve and lifted the tattoo into his line of vision. He snorted in derision. “You may as well be my brother by blood.” He dropped his sleeve and lifted both hands to grip Rodolfo’s shirt. “You have sacrificed everything, everything for Siena. For this house. For these people.” He leaned in, inches away from Rodolfo’s face again. “And I shall not let you kill yourself as a means of appeasing the pain.”
  ____

 Three Valentine-worthy Knights! Which Team are you on?


Whoa, intense!! Have you ordered your copy of BOURNE yet? Or if you're not yet up to the novella (which is set after Torrent), do you plan on reading the series? These are such addictively absorbing novels, you MUST add them to your wishlists!

Be sure to vote in our Ultimate Boyfriend Battle for the chance to win your choice of Waterfall, Cascade or Torrent!
The month is just about over, so make sure you have all your entries in! Even just one comment for the Comment Contest is a guaranteed entry! Or try our Scavenger Hunt, Boyfriend Battle, Boyfriend Quiz, Cover Puzzle, Love Triangle Debates, Publisher Favourites for MORE prize packs to win!

Full schedule of events can be found HERE.

Review: Article 5

Author: Kristen Simmons
Release Date: Already out in US / March 2012 AU
Publisher: Tor Teen / Pier 9
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon / Book Depository
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

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

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

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

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.

Set in a post-war future, Article 5 offers a brutal and devastating new reality. When the Federal Bureau of Reformation (MM for short - Moral Militia) come knocking on Ember Miller's door, she is rightfully terrified. Her single mother has apparently violated one of the newly instated Moral Statues - Article 5 - which outlaws the birth of a child when a man and woman are not married. Her mother is forcefully dragged away and Ember is thrown into a girls reform school. One where whippings and violence against teenage girls is not frowned upon. Alone and fearful of her mother's safety, Ember must learn to navigate this terrifying world on her own and decide who is friend, who is enemy and how far she is willing to go to survive.

I loved that Ember stood up for herself. In a world where it's safer to submit to the hand of those holding a gun to your head, Ember stands with her chin held high. It's so easy to sympathise with her desperation to find her mother. She's witnessed first-hand the violence soldiers are happy to use on people her own age, so she can only imagine what they're doing to her mother, the one responsible for the violation. Ember's always been the strong one, always her mother's rock or taking charge when necessary. So for her to have no idea where she is or what they're doing to her, it eats away at her heart. There are few things stronger than a parent-child bond. Ember endures a great deal of torment throughout the book, physically, emotionally and psychologically, but she perseveres on. Sometimes she breaks, in great moments of despair, but you can count on her to get back and keep fighting. She has the spirit of a survivor and a rebel, and that's what I so admire in a protagonist!

The relationship between Ember and Chase was beautifully complex. You could feel the unresolved feelings bubbling like mad, violently threatening to explode any second. But they kept them under a frustratingly good hold. Through flashbacks, we see the boy Chase once was and the sweet, tender relationship he shared with Ember. Compare that with the the present day Chase and the change is heartbreaking. The MM have beaten and broken and tried their best to mould him into the perfect little soldier, but you can see the effect Ember has on him. Her mere presence cracks through the thick walls he has up and touches something rooted deep inside his heart. They both put up barriers against one another, but will either ever let them down? They have their reasons not to. And perhaps one of them is hiding a very troubling secret.

Kristen magnificently captures the brutality of a twisted post-war America. You'll often be sitting there with eyes wide, mouth agape, shocked by the cruel violence. But that shock quickly turns to absolute rage at those responsible. I love when a book is able to elicit such a reaction of out of me. The messed up rules and regulations make me want to scream. In fact, Kristen evoked a different emotion every step of the way. Whether despair, surprise, heartache or the sweet fluttering of hope. From the very first page, she pulled me into this scary world without a moment to catch my breath and then flung me to and fro and around a new bend without a single warning.

This is the kind of dystopian I love. Where it's physically impossible to set the book down for a second, because you need to see what will happen next.  But then it's finished too soon and you're agonising over the painfully long wait until the sequel. Article 5 paints a raw picture of our world twisted into an cruel and ugly future. Lovers of dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels will eat this up and come crawling back on hands and knees, begging for more. Explosive action, heart-clenching romance and suspense so thick, even the MM standard gun can't shoot through it. Article 5 is definitely one of my favourite reads this year!

5/5 Golden Apples!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Valentine's Blog Event: Character Interview - The Iron Fey

Julie Kagawa. Yeah. That superwomangenius creator of the best faeries in all the land. JULIE. FREAKING. KAGAWA. Ahem. This amazing lady managed to wrangle in her three main faeries and one particularly sullen cat to sit for an interview with Lisa and I. I only became hooked on THE IRON FEY series late last year, thanks to much torture-inspired encouragement from so many of my bloggy friends and I can only think now, 'WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG?!' This is such an amazing series. Action, adventure, romance and such an imaginative world... but more importantly, characters that burrow deep into your heart. If you haven't read them yet, I suggest you do so now, unless you'd like Puck to persuade you... and that mischievous fey can be rather creative. In ways you won't want to experience.

Julie also has a new series coming out in May 2012, THE IMMORTAL RULES, a vampire dystopian that is guaranteed to be AMAZING! I cannot wait!

Character Interview - Ash, Meghan, Puck & Grimalkin

Ash, we know you and Puck share a very.... colourful and messy history together. But you were once the best of friends, despite his annoyingly charming ways! Can you share one of your more fond or memorable adventures together?

Ash: "..."

Puck: "Oh, lighten up, ice-boy, you know you love me. What about that time we stumbled into that hydra nest just as all the eggs were hatching? Or the time we fought a pair of minotaurs in the labyrinth? Or when we were attacked by that clan of harpies in the cave?

Ash: "I seem to remember all of those being your fault."

Puck: *Sighs* "Do I have to tell them about the time you lost your shirt to that satyr girl, ice-boy?"

Ash: "I will kill you."

Puck, a djinn grants you 3 wishes. What do you ask for? And don’t worry, we’ve checked already. It’s not some sneaky faery (or Ash in disguise) planning to rip out your heart or steal your innocence (ha!) in sacrifice the moment you make your wish!

Puck: "Wishes, huh? I dunno, there's this thing in the Nevernever called the Wishing tree, and if you can get past the giant snake that guards it, the tree grants you a wish. But it NEVER turns out the way you want. I remember this one time Ash and I...well, never mind. Three wishes, let's see. I'd wish Oberon would lighten up some, I'd wish pig-latin was a real language, and I'd wish for a turkey sandwich. That way, I know I'd get at least one of my wishes.

So tell us, Meghan... does Ash prefer boxers or brief- Yeesh! Put the sword down, Ash! We’re totally kidding! *was totally not kidding* Erm, so, Meghan... as you know, Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. While not a tradition we imagine to be celebrated amongst the fey... if you could sneak Ash off to the land of mortals for the day, where would you love to take him?

Meghan: *Giggles* "Don't worry, Ash, I won't tell them. Some things are better left a mystery. ;-) And if I could go on a Valentine's date, I'd probably drag him to the movies. And watch some sort of sappy romantic comedy. In the back row. In the dark.

Ash: *Looks mildly confused.* "Is this a type of human movie-watching ritual I don't know about?"

Puck: "Don't worry, ice-boy. You won't remember much about the movie, anyway."

Grimalkin, we thought we’d consult the wisest kitty.... er, we mean the most DIGNIFIED AND SOPHISTICATED CAT in all of Nevernever on the fierce war that has raged between Team Ash and Team Puck fans. (Some are even sporting Team Grimalkin badges!). What are you thoughts on this? Have you secretly taken a side?

Grimalkin: "Please. Do not insult me with such ridiculous questions. I do not choose "sides" human. To do so implies I care about such trivial matters. And I have much more important things to worry about."

Puck: "Yeah, we all love you too, Furball."

What do you guys think of Julie’s next project involving vampires? Do you think you faeries have some fierce competition on their hands?

Puck: "Vampires? Come on, who can replace ME?"

Ash: "A challenge would be nice. I hope at least one of them can swing a sword."

Meghan: "Vampires have been around forever. I don't think we're in any danger of being forgotten.

Grimalkin: *Yawns*


I think Grim needs some perking up.... Puck can teach him how to play fetch, perhaps? *ruffles his fur* Naww, don't get all hissy and scratchy! Don't you guys just LOVE these characters? Have you read The Iron Fey? Or eager to become a fan? And who else is counting down the days until the release of The Immortal Rules?!

Julie actually wrote a short story inspired by Valentine's Day which sees Meghan taking Ash into the human world to experience this human tradition - it's so sweet! Head over to her website to read it!


Full schedule of events can be found HERE.
We have TONS of giveaways for you to enter, but things are coming to a wrap soon, so hurry!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Valentine's Blog Event: Publisher's Favourites & Giveaway

We couldn't have a month-long lovefest without appealing to the publishers of many of the amazing books we've featured, could we? Lisa and I begged asked a few publishers to share with us their favourite romance reads of 2011 and a sneak peek at the amazing titles we have to look forward to in 2012! All featuring... you guessed it, ROMANCE! Whether sweet or scorching, messy or simple, love is a language we all understand.

So read on for some lusty titles and hot hot hot giveaways for our Australia, New Zealand and UK readers! (Sorry international folk, but you guys still have tons of chances to win in our other giveaways! Plus commenting on this post still counts toward your Comment Contest entries)

Lisa is also featuring 3 different publishers on her blog today, make sure you head over to check them out!
Catherine from Scholastic UK

Immortal City by Scott Speer
 April 5th 2012

Imagine a world where Guardian angels not only exist, but walk among us every day, treated as the ultimate A-listers. Blogs are dedicated just to their movements, the latest fashion trends are dictated by what they wear. They are still the Guardians, providing a service, protecting people every day … for the right fee of course.

Jackson Godspeed is the hottest Angel in a city that is obsessed with these Immortals. He’s about to become the youngest Guardian in history. Everyone loves him. Everyone except Maddy Montgomery. She’s not interested in celebrities and the shallow world they inhabit. Until Jackson takes refuge in the diner where Maddy works and a fierce, inexplicable connection pulls them together. But as Maddy is reluctantly drawn into Jackson’s glamorous world, she’s exposed to more than just the paparazzi. A serial killer is murdering one Angel at a time … and Jackson is his next victim.

The book is Immortal City and it is fantastic!! And the chemistry between Maddy and Jackson is just perfect for Valentine’s Day swoon-ness.

Catherine has been so generous as to offer 20 ARCs of Immortal City, which have been scattered throughout our many giveaways! UK readers have the chance to win 1 of 2 today, by filling out the form below!
 
 
Jennifer from Hardie Grant Egmont

Forgotten by Cat Patrick
June 2011
London Lane cannot remember the past, she only remembers the future. She manages her condition by writing notes to herself each day, and programming important dates into her phone. She has created a system that works and is living some semblance of a normal life.

Then she meets Luke. Handsome, kind, unforgettable Luke. He triggers a dark memory and suddenly there are too many questions. Why can’t London remember Luke? How long can she go falling in love with the same boy every day? Whose funeral is haunting her and how can she solve a mystery she doesn’t remember?

Forgotten is a heart-wrenching story about first love, and finding the truth in a past you can’t
remember.

Through it all, her heart keeps time even when her head does not.
I remember forwards.
I remember forwards, and forget backwards.

My memories, bad, boring, or good, haven’t happened yet. So I will remember standing in the fresh-cut grass with the black-clad figures surrounded by stone until I do it for real. I will remember the funeral until it happens – until someone dies. 

And after that, it will be forgotten. 

Here’s the thing about me: I can see my future, but my past is blank. I see the future in flashes, like memories. I remember what I’ll wear tomorrow, and a car crash that won’t happen till this afternoon. But yesterday has evaporated from my mind – just like the boy I love. I can’t see him in my future. I can’t remember him from my past. But today, I love him. 

And I never want to forget how much.

Key Points:
  • Lucas Henry will give you heart palpitations. Every young reader will be enamoured with his dreamy looks, his sexiness, and his tenderness towards London. And thank goodness for a really good guy with none of the dangerous charm or bad-boy image that’s come to dominate male love interests in recent teen fiction – Luke melts our hearts with his thoughtfulness, particularly in moments like the star-gazing scene.
  • Forgotten has sold over 15, 000 units across ANZ since June 2011

     ____
Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt
March 2012 
After the car crash that leaves her best friend dead, Jenna is permanently scarred. She struggles to rebuild her life, but every stare in the street, every time she looks in the mirror, makes her want to retreat further from the world. Until she meets Ryan. Ryan is also an outsider. When he and his mother arrive in town she tells him this time it will be different. He doesn't believe her. Until he meets Jenna. As Jenna and Ryan grow closer, repercussions from the crash continue to reverberate through the community. And then a body is found…

Key Points:
  • Fang-free romance for readers who are allergic to the paranormal
  • Ryan is a character every girl will fall in love with
  • It’s an against-the-odds love story, it’s rites of passage, but it’s also a compelling mystery with a serious crime at its centre
  • Explores themes of beauty, prejudice, peer pressure and courage.
  • Perfect for girls of 13+ who prefer realism, who will grow up to enjoy women’s fiction
 ____

Revived by Cat Patrick (author of Forgotten)
April 2012
Daisy has died five times. She’s a test subject for a government super drug called Revive, which brings people back from the dead. Each time she is revived, Daisy has to move cities and change her identity to avoid suspicion. Daisy has always gotten a thrill out of cheating death, but her latest move has come with unexpected complications: a new best friend, and a very cute new crush who is taking a special interest in her...

As Daisy’s attachment to her new home grows, she discovers secrets that could tear her world apart. And the more she learns, the more she feels like a lowly pawn in a sinister game. When the stakes are life and death, someone is going to get hurt.

Key Points:
  • A fast paced thriller with enough romance and suspense to keep girls hooked right to the end
  • Cat Patrick brings us another swoon-worthy love interest, she has a brilliant career shaping up in front of her!
  • Forgotten has sold over 15, 000 units across ANZ since June 2011!

The gorgeous Jennifer is giving away 10 copies of Forgotten by Cat Patrick + heart shaped post-it notes for Australian and New Zealand residents, which we've scattered throughout the giveaways this month! You can win 1 of 2 today by filling out the form below!
 
Theresa from Date A Book

The amazing Theresa from Date A Book has allowed Lisa and I to giveaway TEN PRIZE PACKS throughout February, which totals to a mind-blowing ONE HUNDRED BOOKS. Have I mentioned she's amazing? Possibly. But it's important you hear it again! We're giving two of those prize packs away today!

The Gallagher Girls - Ally Carter (all 5 books)
The Violet Eden Chapters - Jessica Shirvington (first 3 books)
A Witch in Winter - Ruth Warburton
Heaven - Christoph Marzi
WIN! WIN! WIN!

UK Prizes(2 winners)
ARC of Immortal City by Scott Speer

Australia/New Zealand (2 prize packs)
The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter (all 5 books)
The Violet Eden Chapters by Jessica Shirvington (first 3 books)
A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton
Heaven by Christoph Marzi
 Faery Tales and Nightmares by Melissa Marr
 Forgotten by Cat Patrick

GIVEAWAY FORM

You will find the same giveaway form on Lisa's blog,  so you only need enter once. But make sure you go check out the amazing titles she is previewing!

A HUGE thank you to all the amazing publishers for their contributions today! We so appreciate the incredible books you have donated and for sharing with us those hot titles we ought to be shaking with excitement for! (Trust me, WE ARE).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Valentine's Blog Event: Guest Post - Katie Kacvinsky

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Katie Kacvinsky, author of AWAKEN and the upcoming FIRST COMES LOVE. While I'm ridiculously eager to read both of these, after stalking her website I discovered one of her first books was actually one of swear words, appropriately titled,  "The Book of Swear Words". In grade 3. Which she proudly showed to her teacher. Suffice it to say, that book is destroyed. And she was put on a two week playground ban. But it's legacy lives on, because I now officially love this woman.

So I'm crazy excited to share with you her thoughts on the MALE MIND. That scary enigma that intrigues us ever so much. And Katie has plenty experience probing this confusing, attractive species!
 Katie Kacvinskey - Guest Post

Dissecting the Male Mind…

It’s something all women love to do, right? We spend hours trying to decipher what all their subtle behaviors mean. Well, I’ve had the privilege (and challenge) of having a lot of guy roommates in my life. In college I lived with six guys. When I was twenty-one, I lived in a house with nine guys, yes, NINE, and I was the only girl. Let’s just say, all this one-on-one time with so much collective testosterone has given me quite a bit of writing material. It also gave me the opportunity to observe guys—how they communicate, how they handle confrontations and how they deal with relationships (and how they really don’t understand how to clean a bathroom or kitchen).

So, when I wrote First Comes Love, my goal was to tackle emotionally heated issues from the male perspective—issues on family, loss, friendship, sex, love and independence. The story flips narratives between Gray and Dylan, and they learn that love is a lot more than butterflies in your stomach. It’s more than asking what someone’s favorite color is, or what they want to be when they grow up. Love is about asking the tough questions. It’s about loving someone even when they make it extremely hard to love them.

Here’s what Gray learns about relationships, which he explains to a friend in the story:

“I don’t know much, but this is what I’ve learned. You’ll fall for the last person you ever thought you’d be interested in. That’s the tricky part. You might not even notice her at first. And she usually comes around just when you’ve stopped looking. But if you pay attention you’ll know it’s her because she’ll stand out from everybody else. She might even scare you. But if you’re lucky enough to meet this girl, be smart enough to realize it and try not to screw it up.”

How did Gray come to this realization? You’ll have to read the book to find out. :) Happy Valentine’s Day.

She lived with NINE guys?! I'm not sure whether to be thrilled by that prospect of absolutely terrified. Perhaps a little of both ;) I can imagine the inspiration she gained from the experience though! Something I can't wait to see reflected back on Gray in First Comes Love! But oh, I love how she describes love. She's made me even more excited to read this now!


E
  This is your final letter to collect! Make sure you go back over both mine and Lisa's posts for every blue letter and then unscramble the words to enter the Scavenger Hunt Giveaway! 
Full schedule of events can be found HERE.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Valentine's Blog Event: Guest Post - Rebecca Lim

You might have seen my reviews for Mercy, Exile and Muse last year when I discovered this series thanks to the amazing Lara at Harper Collins. Suffice it to say, Rebecca Lim 110% hooked me in! Mercy's story is so different to what we've come to expect from the majority of angel books in YA and while I've loved many of them, it's so nice to have that change of pace! Rebecca offers a fresh new story and much more, with her gorgeous writing and terribly cruel cliffhangers that make you AGGGHHH until the next book is out!

So before you all go running to add the Mercy series to your Goodreads lists, have a read below, as Rebecca has generously taken time from her busy schedule to share her thoughts on love in YA!
Guest Post - Rebecca Lim

Love is one of the most complicated, thrilling things each and every one of us will be hit with in our life times. And it’s something that YA literature is steeped in.

Want a love triangle or love hexagon featuring hot supernatural boys? YA lit has it.

Want creepy, stalker love, or love that is continually reincarnated, or love from beyond the grave? Got that, too.

It may seem that the world of young adult literature is bursting with inconceivable ideas of love, but it’s just a reflective, refractive view of what goes on in the “real” world.

We’re a complicated species, and we’re at a fantastic point in our literary evolution – we’re grown up enough to write and read about love that isn’t necessarily rooted in 1950s notions of what a family or relationship should be.

So we’ve got vampire families and zombie single dads, gay martial arts practising bodyguards and girlfriends who are undead or see dead people. And it’s not crazy; it’s just the human condition to work things through in our art forms. And don’t believe what the critics say, a lot of young adult work is imaginative art, pure and simple.

Happy reading and Happy Valentine’s Day, people. May you get the kind of love you long for and deserve.

I so love this post! And especially her last paragraph, so true, so inspiring and so makes me want to read about zombie single dads. And you can't tell me I'm the only one who finds the above Australian covers for the series series absolutely breathtaking?! They are STUNNING! I cannot wait to get my hands on Fury in May!

 

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A mystery letter! Find it's friends and enter the Scavenger Hunt Giveaway! 
Full schedule of events can be found HERE.
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