Saturday, April 28, 2012

In My Mailbox #40

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've just started reading Until I Die today and love!! I'm only up to chapter 5, but oh, I do adore these characters. It's been ages since I read Die For Me, but from the first page I fell back into everything I loved about the first book <3

Earth Girl is SO my kinda read!! Futuristic. Sci-fi. Deception. Planets. Freak solar storm. Romance. Gushing reviews already coming in. Gorgeous cover. WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? I am really excited to get started on this one, fingers crossed I love it!

I grabbed Blood Bound from the library because: 1) I hear so much about Rachel Vincent and yet I HAVE NEVER READ ONE OF HER BOOKS and 2) I really, really need to add some adult books to my 'read and loved' lists. I'm a hardcore YA lover, but I'd like to dip into adult paranormal romance/urban fantasy, etc. Let's hope this goes wel!

And lastly, When You Were Mine! I love the idea of telling Rosaline's story and I've been hearing some good comments about this from blogger friends the past few days, soooooo me hopes their opinions are not dodgy. I kid, I love you all! Most of you. Some of you. Buahahaha.

What's in your mailbox this week?

By the way, have you been tuning into the STORM Blog Tour all this week? Character interviews, excerpts, video chat, secrets of the series and an author Q&A's where YOU ask the questions! Did I mention there are FOURTEEN PRIZE PACKS, one of which includes an ARC of the hotly anticipated sequel, SPARK?! You better whip yourself over to check out the details right here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

STORM BLOG TOUR: Brigid Q&A - YOU ask the questions!

Did you know STORM was released in the US on Tuesday? You have permission to run like a lunatic to your nearest bookstore and greedily snatch up a copy! And to make things better, for a limited time, ELEMENTAL, the short story prequel is FREE to download from Amazon!

Welcome to day 4 of the Storm Blog Tour! Having endured three days of swoon already, you now have the chance to probe the woman who brought these amazing characters and their story to life. What makes Brigid Kemmerer tick? Why is she so damn talented? She has graciously answered a few of my own questions, but then I am promptly handing the reigns over to YOU GUYS to probe the mind of the hottest YA author of 2012.
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If could spend one day with any character from STORM, who would it be and why?
This is a tough question! I love them all! It’s like being asked if I would spend one day with only one of my kids.

But probably Michael. I like his devotion to his family and his sense of responsibility.

Did you have an easier time writing Chris or Becca's POV?
When I first started Storm, it was entirely written from Becca’s POV. Then I realized I was missing the opportunity to show more of the brothers’ relationship. I went back and rewrote the first three chapters to include Chris’s point of view, and it took off from there. It was very difficult to start (I kept wondering how a guy would think about everything he was going through), but once I found Chris’s voice, it just took off from there.

How did you react when you were told you were going to be published?
When I got the call from my agent, it was five minutes before I was supposed to be presenting on a national conference call for my day job. It took everything I had to keep composed on the conference call, and actually talk about business-y things, when all I wanted to do was scream, “I JUST SOLD MY FIRST NOVEL!”

When I called my husband on the way home from work, he was all harried because he’d been home with a sick kid all day long. He was telling me all about his day, and I didn’t want to interrupt him. When he finally stopped and said, “Anyway, how was your day?” I said, “It’s great, because my agent just called with an offer on the book.” You could have heard a pin drop on the line. He said. “Wait. What?”

If you were granted 24 hours of immortality and no legal repercussions for your actions... what is the craziest thing you would do?
The sad thing is that I’m a pretty boring person. I’d probably find a quiet corner and read -- because with my kids, it’s tough to find quiet time. Or maybe I’d go find a well trained horse and ride the 4-star course at Kentucky Horse Park. That’s always been a dream, but I’m pretty sure I’d need the guaranteed immortality before attempting something like that.

Now it's your turn! 

Do you have a burning question for Brigid? Want to know more about Storm? The boys? Publishing? Her favourite music? Her plans for the zombiepocalypse? Whatever your topic of choice, here's your chance to learn more about the amazing woman behind our new favourite series!

Brigid will be stopping by throughout the day to respond your questions. So just leave them in the comments and check back later to read her answer! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this, Brigid! <3

 For stalking purposes:
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Schedule:

Monday 23rd April:  Chris/Becca/Hunter Interview - Read Me Love Me Bookmark Me
Tuesday 24th April: This or That with the Boys of Storm - Shiirleyy’s Bookshelf
Wednesday 25th April: Fantasy Casting - saz101
Thursday 26th April: Brigid Q&A: YOU ask the questions! - Eleusinian Mysteries
Friday 27th April: Keeping up with the Merrick Twins + Review Roundup - Badass Bookie
Saturday 28th April: Storm Excerpt - Forget-Me-Not
Sunday 29th April: Video chat - Book Probe
Monday 30 April:  Chris Interview - Reading Wishes 
Tuesday 1st May: Guest Post by Brigid: Five Secrets of the Elemental Series - Amaterasu Reads

These posts are all so amazing, make sure you tune in each day!!

Giveaways!

You can fill out this form for EACH of the blog posts outlined below during the tour. 9 days, 9 bloggers, 9 chances to get extra entries in to win some AMAZING prize packs!!


International Prize Pack 1:
Elemental (ebook) + Storm + Spark preorder 

International Prize Pack 2: 
 Elemental (ebook) + Storm + Spark ARC

International Prize Pack 3:
Storm + Spark preorder

Australian Prize Pack: 
Storm ARC + Spark preorder

Australia/New Zealand Prize Packs (10 winners):
1 copy of STORM + 1 STORM book jacket  + 1 SPARK book jacket
Thanks to Allen & Unwin and Brigid!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules

Author: Julie Kagawa
Release Date: May 1st AUS / April 24th US
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Add it: Goodreads
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / HarlequinBooks
In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

Living on the Fringe of a vampire society, Allison Sekemoto is an Unregistered. She defies the law by not registering as an obedient blood bank for the vampires who rule. But with that choice comes a daily fight for survival, in a world fraught with danger under the watchful eyes of human pets and their deadly masters who stalk the night. Not to mention a diseased race known as rabids, whose nature is true to their name. Right from the word go we're introduced to a fierce girl with strong morals and a distaste for taking anyone's crap. Allie tells it like it is and I love me a protagonist with fire. Her habits and attitude clearly show that she's endured a tough life, where nothing comes without a price and you have to fight to take what you need. Trust doesn't come easy to her and understandably so, because trust is one step away from naivety on the Fringe, where your closest ally could be the one who stabs you in the back. It's a harsh and miserable existence, but she never gives up the will to survive. No matter the cost.

If I'm completely honest, the first quarter of the book was my favourite. Where human Allie lived in the Fringe, fighting, defying and despising the creatures who force humans into such a horrific life. Where danger struck hard and she became the thing she hated the most: vampire. Where she trained with the mysterious and alluring Kanin, who fascinated me the most and left me longing for more. Where romance was hardly a blip on the fang-filled radar. I love me some romance, don't get me wrong, but I what I loved more was the focus of this part of the book and the atmosphere of New Covington. While I do wish we'd have spent longer running along with that thread, I still enjoyed where Julie took the story next. We see Allie suddenly left on her own; no alliances, no teacher, just an endless road, a looming sun and a undeniable thirst for blood.

On her travels, she's faced with perhaps the most dangerous temptation of all: human friendship. Kanin warned Allie not to get too close to humans. That part of her life is over and for a vampire to get  emotionally attached to their food source is a recipe for disaster. But before she even realises it, she finds herself growing more and more enamoured by a group of humans who are searching for an elusive Eden. Supposedly a city filled humans, untouched by vampires. And one member of the group in particular is having a damning effect on her hardened heart. Ezekiel Crosse.

Zeke is a genuine GOOD guy and it's nice to see that in a love interest these days when so often we're swooning for the bad boy. So it pains me to say that he didn't entirely make my heart skip a beat. Don't confuse that with me disliking him, which is not the slightest bit true. He is such a caring, forgiving boy, even after all that he's endured and witnessed in the world. There is a pureness to his soul that still allows for hope, for love, for empathy to seep through. Something that is so easy to lose living the life he does. So yes, I like him, I just don't personally get a thrill from him. With that said, while I could happily have continued this book without the addition of a romance (because no matter how I try to justify it, it's probably a little twisted for Allie to get it on with Kanin), I enjoyed watching Allie and Zeke's relationship progress. You can see the shift in their feelings, the holding back and the slow-building trust, all written believably so.

I love that Julie brings all the grit, blood and horrors of what a vampire should be like. They crave blood. Human blood. And even those with the most noble intentions are still struggling to keep the demon at bay, buried deep within their core. I enjoyed watching Allie's progression as she fights to hold onto her 'humanity'. She's not flawless, she slips up, but she admirably strives to be better. She's still a badass, though. This girl knows how to kick some serious butt and she's not afraid to slice, dice and suck you dry if you cross her path the wrong way.

Blood and slavery, starvation and fear, death and desire all rage war beside one another in this darkly thrilling new novel. The Immortal Rules has all the potential to turn into a fantastic series. Seeing the ways Julie has evolved The Iron Fey books, I think we can look forward to some exciting chapters in Allie's life. There were a few sections that I felt did drag a little, but once things picked up again, Julie knows how to create fast-paced action and deliciously exciting danger. Vampires and dystopian have proven to mix wonderfully well and I can't wait to see how this story unravels next!


4/5 Golden Apples!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

STORM Blog Tour: Giveaways, Interviews, Video chats, Secrets & More!


A Storm is coming! Over the next week, forecasts are predicting a massive Storm front progressing steadily across the Southern blogosphere. Authorities warn of effects being felt across the globe, with multiple storm point touch downs, interviews, exclusive extras and massive prize packs. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to batten down the hatches for one epic storm event.

Whether you're one of these lucky people who've already read Storm by goddess-turned-author Brigid Kemmerer, or you're impatiently waiting, you have to know that this is one of the most exciting young adult paranormals 2012 has to offer. Over the next nine days, nine bloggers are very excited to be bringing you the Storm Blog Tour! Tune in to your feeds and favorite blogs for never before seen character interviews, a video chat, an interactive Q&A with Brigid, and an exclusive excerpt from Storm itself! If that's not exciting enough, there are fourteen massive prize packs up for grabs, both AU/NZ and internationally! Check out tour dates below, and be sure to tune in to each stop to enter the giveaway!

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Schedule:


Monday 23rd April:  Chris/Becca/Hunter Interview - Read Me Love Me Bookmark Me
Tuesday 24th April: This or That with the Boys of Storm - Shiirleyy’s Bookshelf
Wednesday 25th April: Fantasy Casting - saz101
Thursday 26th April: Brigid Q&A: YOU ask the questions! - Eleusinian Mysteries
Friday 27th April: Keeping up with the Merrick Twins + Review Roundup - Badass Bookie
Saturday 28th April: Storm Excerpt - Forget-Me-Not
Sunday 29th April: Video chat - Book Probe
Monday 30 April:  Chris Interview - Reading Wishes
Tuesday 1st May: Guest Post by Brigid: Five Secrets of the Elemental Series - Amaterasu Reads

______________________________________________________________________

Giveaway Packs:
You can fill out this form for EACH of the blog posts outlined above during the tour. 9 days, 9 bloggers, 9 chances to get extra entries in to win some AMAZING prize packs!!

  

International Prize Pack 1:
Elemental (ebook) + Storm + Spark preorder 

International Prize Pack 2: 
 Elemental (ebook) + Storm + Spark ARC

International Prize 3:
Copy of Storm + Spark Pre-order



Australian Prize Pack: 
Storm ARC + Spark preorder

Australia/New Zealand Prize Packs (10 winners):
1 copy of STORM + 1 STORM book jacket  + 1 SPARK book jacket
Thanks to Allen & Unwin and Brigid!!

ARE. YOU. EXCITED?!?! I AM! These posts are amazing, BRIGID is amazing, every blogger on the tour is AMAZING! I can't wait to share all these with you guys!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In My Mailbox #39

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!

Pan Mac Attack:

 Random House on Elm Street

 HarlequinTEEN is an Vampire Queen

 God Save Insignia from the Storm
God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

The amazing Pan Mac sent me a signed copy of Winter's Light and a signed poster for giveaway. Woo! More details soon! Aussie only though, sorry.

Fated will be my first taste of Alyson Noel's books and I know so many love her, so fingers crossed I will too! I've been hearing SUCH good things about Insignia, especially from Steph at Poetry to Prose, so my excitement levels are SUPER HIGH. God Save the Queen was a surprise, but after reading the synopsis: doesn't it sound SO COOL?

Much love for STORM!! You may have noticed I love this book. Lots and lots and lots :D Especially the Aussie cover, which is looking sexy sleeping in my bookshelf. I'm reading The Immortal Rules at the moment (no Lisa, I'm still not finished, I've been so. slow. lately) and it's fantastic so far! Julie Kagawa? Ever do wrong? You make a funny.

There's a certain courier company in Australia that hates me. Fallen in Love was sent to me in JANUARY and Starters sent in March. Apparently they won't deliver to PO boxes, so rather than SEND ME A LETTER OR SOMETHING TO LET ME KNOW, they let my parcels sit there until I rang up about a different package. Grrr. But Starters look so pretty in person!

So I had a flipping AWESOME mail week! I am so excited to read all of these, but I do hope I have a quiet mailbox next week. I am so behind on reading/reviewing lately :S

What's in your mailbox this week?

ALSO: Be sure to stop by tomorrow to get the details on what is happening next week for the STORM blog tour I'm participating in! HOT HOT HOT giveaways and CRAZY AWESOME posts!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Are you attending the STORM book launch party?!


Do YOU live in Ellicott City? In... er.... *googles* MARYLAND?! If you close by, I hear there's a massive storm front predicted to sweep through the city next Saturday, April 28th, raining food (cupcakes, maybe?!), sexy books and even a NOOK!

Brigid Kemmerer, author of that freaking awesome book STORM, is having a launch party next week and I THINK YOU SHOULD GO. If you don't know already (I'll forgive you for ignoring me the past few months), Storm is going to be one of the smash-hit debuts of 2012 and you will want to be one of those early fans who can slip a case on your ereader saying, "I WENT TO THE HOTTEST BOOK PARTY OF THE YEAR AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS DAMN AWESOME NOOK!"

Seriously though, if you're in the area, definitely check it out! You can meet the amazing Brigid and trust me when I say, she's possibly the nicest, sweetest, friendliest, most beautiful (I could go on...) author I've had the pleasure of chatting to. And YOU can stalk meet her in person!

 Details I stole from Brigid's website are below and you can check out more on Faceybook:

Storm Book Launch Party

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
4300 Montgomery Road
Ellicott City, MD 21043
(410) 203-9001

April 28, 2012 at 2pm

Giveaways! Food available! We're even giving away a NOOK to one lucky attendee!

RSVP to brigidmary@gmail.com

ALSO: STORM COMES OUT NEXT MONDAY! ARE YOU EXCITED?!!

I'm also participating in a 9 day blog tour starting next week, which includes COOL posts and HOT giveaways... you know you wanna be here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Michael Grant Blog Tour: Show no FEAR and go BZRK!


I am pumped to be the 5th stop of Michael Grant's Australian & New Zealand, 'Show FEAR and go BZRK' blog tour in celebration of his new novel, BZRK and the fifth installment of the Gone series, FEAR. You may have seen my review for BZRK posted back in February, which was one of the most unique, creative and downright creepy/crazy books I've read in a while!!

Huge thanks to Hardie Grant Egmont for putting this tour together and allowing me to take part. Today, I've secured words from two very opposing sides, Nexus Humanus and BZRK, the former being one striving for world peace in the novel, while the latter is trying to take them down. But who, really, is the bad guy? Today, a representative from each side gives you a taste of what they believe in and working toward. In the war that may threaten the very sanity of humanity, which side will you support?


Written by Jindal, for Nexus Humanus:

Is there a single square meter of planet earth that has not drunk of the blood of innocents? Is there a country that has not known war? Is there a group that has not at some point been hated for no reason? Is there a man, woman, or child who has not felt threatened, fearful, abandoned, alone at some point?

Humans are wired from birth to see people in two categories, "Us" and "Other." We fear the other. We mistrust the other. We may hate the other. And in our fear and mistrust we may decide that the life of the other is less important than our own. We do not make war on "Us," we make war on the other. We do not turn away from the cries of of us, we turn from the other. We do not shrug it off when a curable disease kills one of us.

What if there was another way? Imagine that there is another way. Imagine a world where everyone is "Us." Imagine a world where there is no "Other." Imagine a world where the idea of a child going hungry is inconceivable, where each of us would feed that child because that child is ours. Imagine a world where no one of us would despise another because we are all "Us."

It's a pipe dream. A fantasy. Except. . . except that it is no longer a fantasy. We can unite the entire human race. Each of us, "friending" every one else. A single, interconnected, human race. Not a black, white, Asian, gay, straight, male, female, old, young race: a human race. It's no longer a dream. It's no longer a fantasy. My friends, it is here, it is now, it is so very real. It is: Nexus Humanus.

_____________

Written by anonymous for BZRK

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Wild utopianism has killed more people than have ever been killed by greed or a desire for power. Nexus Humanus is a lie, a creation of the Armstrong Twins, a shill, a fraud. It's not even the main game, people, it's a sideshow. Something very different is going on. Details are irrelevant, all you need to know is that it's all a lie. Happiness is not sustainable, life itself is brief. We live and we die and in between we sometimes feel joy and other times despair. Sometimes we love, sometimes we hate, at times we are good and other times we behave badly, but that's the price we pay for being free. It's what makes us human. You want an end to war, hatred, bigotry, rage, all the evils of the world? Too bad, because that's not within the grasp of humanity. It's a goal we strive toward, but strive is all we can do, we cannot push a button and make it happen. And that, in the end, is what they hope to do: to make us machines and not humans.
_____________

 Thank you so much to Michael for taking the time to stop by here today! Be sure to check out the fantastic stops on the rest of the tour below!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox #38

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!

Harper Awesomeness:

Allen & Unwin Awesomeness:

BIGGG thanks to the wonderful, amazing, capslock God, SHIRLEY!! She sent me her copy of Hallowed because I don't own it and she doesn't want it and inside it's pages lives a charming boy named Tucker. I am so excited to read this after seeing so many gushy reviews for it! I love you, Shirley!!! <3 She also sent me an awesome bookmark which I obviously forgot to include in the photo.

Allow me to reenact the moment I got Insurgent: SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Allow me to reenact my moment upon finishing Insurgent: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

If you saw my review, you may have noticed I EFFING LOVED IT and holy crap, it's even better than Divergent, people. I know, HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!?!

I'm about to start reading Fury, which is the fourth installment in the Mercy series. Cannot wait to see how it all ends, especially given the cliffhanger Muse left me on. I am SO excited to start Holier Than Thou, because I loved Laura's first novel, Good Oil. I sneaked in the first chapter of this and whoa, yeah, I'm HOOKED. Definitely reading it after Fury. I also peaked at the first few pages of Dead, Actually and it looks awesome! Methinks Brodie is going to like.

What's in your mailbox this week?
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PRETTIES! PRETTIES!
If you're a regular visitor (hi, I love you!) you might have noticed I've had a mini blog makeover! It really only looks like I've changed the header and background, but you would not believe how difficult I make things for myself and it took freaking forever. I take no credit for the amazing banner art, save for a blog title very lamely tacked on (I suck at Photoshop). Anyway, whatchoo think? Anything that's difficult to read or just plain ugly? (I'm awful at matching colours, so I will not take offence to you pointing your finger in my face and cackling in mockery). Everything looks normal size in Firefox, but stupid IE seems to make it all so biiiiiiiiiiig.

I also updated my About Me page and plan to put up a VERY belated rating system explanation soon. And probably change my blog button so it matches the new header.

I am also RIDICULOUSLY behind on blog commenting, but I promise I'll begin to play catch up tomorrow!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Author: Veronica Roth
Release Date: May 1st 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon // Book Depository
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

It's safe to say that Divergent was THE novel of 2011. It quietly snuck up on me at the time and completely BLEW ME AWAY. So naturally Insurgent has been my most anticipated sequel of 2012. Did it live up to the hype? Not at all.

IT OBLITERATED IT. 

Insurgent picks up instantly where Divergent left off, with Tris, Four (Tobias), Marcus, Caleb and Peter having escaped the horrors of the Erudite attack and now seeking refuge in Amity. I'm pleased that we got to explore more of both Amity and Candor this time, but true to Roth-style, they are not always as black and white as they seem in theory. I'm not going to delve too deeply into plot specifics, because it's the surprises that are the most exciting. But Insurgent is the most thrilling, emotionally evocative and addictive (you must have god-like willpower if you can put this down for a SECOND) sequel I have ever had the jaw-popping, eye-bulging, electrifying joy to read.

Tobias and Tris? Favourite. YA Couple. EVER. I want MORE relationships like this in YA. It's secondary to the overall plot, but when it's focused on, it so intimately sweeps you up in the moment. I swear, I've never slowed down so much during the sexy-scenes of a book, just to savour every single word and fully appreciate the emotions both characters are feeling with every heated second. What they have is not puppy love. It's POWERFUL. It could destroy whole worlds with it's quiet intensity. They are magnetic in a way only Veronica Roth can pull off. And even when they're at odds with one another, which they are for quite a lot of the novel, with tension so thick you can taste it, the relationship slows to a simmer, but the desire rages on and every touch, every look shared across a roomful of people or tense conversation filled with longing and frustration, is simply put: f****** brilliant. Their relationship is layered and complicated, nothing is simple, nothing is easy, but every obstacle is so goddamn worth it.

Tris is one remarkable heroine. With all she endured in Divergent, we see a girl carrying a heart full of guilt, regret and raw pain. She lost so much and she incited loss too, the guilt of Will's death plays heavily on her throughout Insurgent. She goes through one heck of an emotional roller coaster, but through it all, even when she falls to the lowest of lows and especially when she doesn't believe she can go on, she does. She keeps fighting, because she is a survivor. She is still Tris. Brave and strong and not without fear, but not without fury and fire too. She's smart and resilient and one of the strongest, most complex and admirable heroines I've seen in YA. Even if at times you might not agree with her decisions, you still cheer her on and not for a minute does she allow you to become disengaged in her story.

Revealed are more sides to Tobias and oh, in the name of all that is holy and Dauntless, I am in love with this boy. He's not without his frustrations, mystery and secrets, but that is what makes him so captivating. It's his flaws that give him intrigue, mixed with a beautiful kindness and exhilarating, sometimes scary side. Four.... Tobias... he is a thrilling specimen. Sometimes I wish Tris was more expressive with him, because you could see in certain moments the pain and sadness he was holding back, but it made for the kind of emotional angst that is torturously delightful. Tobias goes through his own emotional turbulence in the sequel, some of which puts him in a position where he and Tris struggle to stay on the same page, but each has their own reasons, each fueled by the right motivations, and while it's painstakingly messy sometimes, both Tobias and Tris shine as individuals.

New alliances form, old ones shatter. Known faces are shown in an entirely new light; some for the good, some for the worse. I love how Veronica can so expertly shift your perspective on a character. She does it slowly, sprinkling clues, building up to the moment where she lays it all bare and you're left gasping for an oxygen mask. An uprising is well into play and our favourite characters are right in the centre of it. War, deceit, love and pain are crashing upon us and Veronica is not afraid to throw in all she has, leaving you to wonder how she'll recover to do it all again in the next book. I laughed, I gasped, I melted, my heart ran a marathon at dizzying speed and I bit my knuckles so hard I'm surprised I didn't draw blood.

The action is as pulse-pounding as ever, the secrets are more earth-shattering and the suspense will almost kill you. It has all the brutality, intensity and surprise of Divergent, but - and I never thought this possible - it's even better. Insurgent is every bit a worthy successor to the novel that smashed so many favourite lists of 2011. Veronica is an author who deserves to rise to the same kind of fame as Rowling. Yes, I am really going there. Insurgent is THAT good. And I am counting down the SECONDS until the third installment, because with the way she ended things? OMFG. DON'T END. DON'T END. DON'T END. DON'T END. *IS DEAD*

5 MILLION GOLDEN APPLES

Monday, April 9, 2012

2011 Releases I Regret Not Reading

Bloggers are pretty much on the ball when it comes to new and upcoming releases, but that doesn't mean we always have time to read every single book we're craving for. Many unfortunately get pushed to the bottom of that neverending TBR pile, a sacrifice for another hot new release. But that doesn't make us any less eager to read them!

SO. Here are some 2011 that I sadly missed reading, but plan to force myself to this year because they sound freaking INCREDIBLE!


Add it: Goodreads
Reviews: Amaterasu Reads, Poetry to Prose, Mindful Musings
You might have seen the blogosphere and Goodreads go crazy with this self-published bad boy last year. Buzz spread like wildfire and EVERYONE was frothing at the mouth over it. When bloggers I love are saying things like it's one of the best books they've read in 2011, I know I'm in for something special!
 
Add it: Goodreads
The buzz for this one feels like that time when I heard so much about Anna and the French Kiss, but ignored it for a couple of months. Then I read it. And fangirled like crazy. Catching Jordan sounds like THAT kind of contemporary, the one that leaves you with a stupid grin on your face. I want it, I want it, I want it, I want it!

 
Add it: Goodreads
Reviews: Hooked to Books, Gone With The Words, Some Like It Paranormal
This one is all thanks to Asher and her IMM's of awesome and then showing me a sexy, sexy teaser. I loved Shade and I mean... there's a guy. With a Scottish accent. And a kilt (I won't rule out still falling for Logan). I am hereby pledging to catch up on this dang series ASAP so I can be ready for Shine (#3)!

Add it: Goodreads
Reviews: Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic, I Like These Books, All of Everything
I even OWN a copy of this and it's STILL UNREAD! I don't even know why, because I loved The Body Finder, I adored Jay & Violet and the creepy additions Kimberly wrote from the killer's perspective were fantastic. Someone please punch me for having waited so long.



Add it: Goodreads
Reviews: Candace's Book Blog, A Backwards Story, Mundie Moms
Candace convinced me with her review early last year. The protagonist sounds like one you can really root for and connect with. There's mystery and fantasy and action and twists, plus a swoony male lead? Need it. Need it now.



 
Add it: Goodreads
Reviews: Poetry to Prose, Beneath Shining Stars I Read, Once Upon A Twilight
I've seen many varied reviews, most saying it was AMAZING, but the second half let them down. But the GOOD things about this have me not caring if the second half isn't as good as the first, I WANT to read it for the creepy, thrilling, nail-biting story. I'm giddy just thinking about it!



What 2011 (or older) releases do you regret missing out on when they first released?

I might do another post soon on some older releases I think YOU need to read (they're good. I swear. REALLY GOOD).

Friday, April 6, 2012

Review: The Hunt

Author: Andrew Fukuda
Release Date: May 10th 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster AUS / St. Martin's Griffin US
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon / The Book Depository

Against all odds, 17-year-old Gene has survived in a world where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. The only remaining humans, or hepers as they are known, are housed in domes on the savannah and studied at the nearby Heper Institute. Every decade there is a government sponsored hunt. When Gene is selected to be one of the combatants he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow competitors whose suspicions about his true nature are growing.


Humans no longer dominate the world. Our kind are nearly extinct, while another has risen to the top of the food chain. And 17 year old Gene is not one of them. He's a human, a heper, playing a dangerous game where every day he pretends he's like everyone else. He goes through the motions - the fake fangs, the meticulous shaving, constantly pushing down his own emotions in fear of letting slip the hint of a smile or a frown. His good looks draw unwanted attention, but he tries to downplay his intelligence, because in order to survive he needs to fly under the radar. If people notice him, they may see that bead of sweat on his forehead and realise the tantalising scent of heper is coming from him. He just wants to be normal and in this world, normal is like them. It's understandable, this desire, because it has got to be so tiring, so lonely living the life he does in solitude. His family have all gone and so it's just him, never sharing his humanity with anyone, constantly having to guard his secret. It's a sad way of life and you can't help but feel for him. But I can't deny there were a few moments when I was shaking my first at him, he's obviously adapt at the lying game, I just wish he hadn't lied about something to certain people!

Because fate so obviously has not had it's fill of cruelty against humanity, Gene is one of the lucky, lucky citizens whose numbers are selected in the lottery. The grand prize? Why, he's given the opportunity to partake in The Heper Hunt! Where the last remaining humans (secretly raised and studied at The Heper Institute) will be unleashed in an exhilarating game where the lottery winners get to hunt them down. The winner is determined by who devours the most humans/hepers. So not only is Gene going to have to hunt down his own kind, but the veil of secrecy he's hidden behind is beginning to thin and he has to work extra hard to make himself as un-heper-like as possible. The other hunters are growing suspicious.... and they're hungry with desire for some tasty human meat.

Gene's not entirely alone as he and the other hunters go through weeks of preparation for The Hunt. One of his classmates was also selected, Ashley June. A girl he once shared a brief, but lingering and intimate encounter with. A girl he has paid attention to every day since, but has never allowed himself to get close to. A girl who will sooner eat his heart if she knew the truth, than say the words, "I love you." I went through a range of emotions with Ashley, from suspicious to frustration to intrigue and to appreciation. As we grew to learn more about her, she presents many different and very surprising shades to her character...

I love the deliciously disturbing new creatures Andew Fukuda has brought to life. They're not specifically given a label, Gene just refers to them as 'normal people' because to him, they are the normal ones. They hold an essence of both vampire and zombie, with their uncontrollable taste for human flesh, aversion to sunlight and heightened senses, but they have their own unique and eerie quirks, like their way of laughing or what equates to a make-out session for their kind. Their bodies are obviously wired differently to ours, so stimulation doesn't work the same way. I found it fascinating to uncover their habits, strenghts and flaws. Yes, they sickened me, they ARE disturbing, but there's something so intriguing, so captivating when it comes to well-crafted creepiness.

Forget every book that has brainwashed you into thinking vampire-like creatures can be kind, soulful beings, tormented daily with the horror of their inner monster. Andew Fukuda holds nothing back as he paints a gritty, ugly and downright creepy new monster who has overtaken our world, one that relishes in it's bloodlust and disturbing lack of empathy. The Hunt is as thought-provoking as it is action-packed and entertaining. In a world where humans are nearly extinct, we do not turn away in fear, but rather fall deeper into this haunting story of our own demise, eager to see what will happen next, desperate for the last children of our race to fight on for survival, to beat the odds, because what we as humans all yearn for the most is hope. Even if that hope is so dangerously hard to find when you have an army of blood-crazy beasts hot on your heels.

 
4/5 Golden Apples!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday #47

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: Sara Walsh
Release Date: Simon Pulse
Publisher: August 28th 2012
Add it: Goodreads
Mysterious lights have flickered above Crownsville for as long as Mia can remember. And as far as she’s concerned, that’s about the only interesting thing to happen in her small town.

That is, until Sol arrives. Mia’s not one to fall for just any guy, but she can’t get intense Sol—or the brilliant tattoo on his back—out of her mind.

Then Mia’s brother goes missing, and Mia’s convinced that Sol knows more than he’s sharing. But getting closer to Sol means reevaluating everything she once believed to be true. Because Sol’s not who Mia thought he was—and neither is she.

Author: Lex Thomas
Release Date: July 10th 2012
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Add it: Goodreads
It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High—until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.

A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you’re as good as dead. And David has no gang. It’s just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.

In this frighteningly dark and captivating novel, Lex Thomas locks readers inside a school where kids don’t fight to be popular, they fight to stay alive.

I haven't done a WoW in a few weeks, so I figure it's high time I gushed about some upcoming books. Even though I'm a little late... it's 15 minutes into Thursday here in Aus. Ah well, it's still Wednesday in countries living in the Dark Ages!

The Dark Light: The backs of shirtless guys should dominate YA covers more often. I love the entire pose between them, it gives off a serious sexy vibe, right?! And the tattoo! Enlarge it to see a more detailed version.  I'm very eager to learn more about the mysterious Sol and what significance his tattoo holds. And I LOVE that the synopsis does not give away the paranormal element... at least I presume it will be paranormal? I love not knowing!

The Loners: The final line of the synopsis in particular is what really hooks me in. I think this is going to be a very eerie, dark and gritty novel. Just what lengths will these kids go to in order to stay alive? And what kind of effects does the virus have? I cannot wait for this one!

What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Predict The Title! #1

So. I've been thinking about Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson. As one does when they have nothing better to do and there exists a book with sexy guys and kickass girls and crazy cool superpowers. We already have the title for the desperately coveted sequel - Losing Lila - but what about the third book? You can't tell me I'm not the only one who's considered possible names?

So, I figure I might do a weekly (or randomly-posted) game where we brainstorm title ideas for books we're most desperately awaiting!

I have one clear favourite for book #3:

BEDDING LILA

Fine, so the original was more of a ffffffff sounding word, but you know... this is a PG blog and all. And Screwing Lila just sounds nasty. I was also considering Deflowering Lila, because it just feels more expressive, but Bedding fits in more with the previous titles, don't you think?

ANYWAY. Think about it. Bedding Lila. It would obviously involve Alex Wakeman. NAKED. SWEATY. FLASHING HIS ABS. Come on, we need to finish what they were TOTALLY starting during that bed scene in Hunting Lila! I really feel like Sarah was foreshadowing book 3's title. Anyone with me?

What are your predictions for the title of book 3?
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