Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: Deadly Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Author: Kathleen Peacock
Release Date: In stores now!
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (AU) | HarperTeen (US)
Add it: Goodreads
Thanks to: Simon & Schuster for the review copy!
Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.

 So you've trekked from La Push to Mercy Falls and think you're an expert when it comes to treating flea infestations and discouraging your furry, four-legged friend against marking his territory? You think if you've read it 5 times, then you've read it all? Please. You're still a pup. Kathleen Peacock has shown there is still plenty of exciting life to be found amongst our shapeshifting friends. Deadly Hemlock brings murder, mystery, twisted politics, simmering romance and shocking secrets to a small town choking so deep in fear over the recent werewolf attacks, that they've brought in a radical and frightening group known as the Trackers. Highly effective in their capture of those potentially carrying the Lupin Syndrome; and will use any means necessary to aid in their goals.

Mac doesn't have it easy. Her once tight-knit quartet of best friends has been brutally torn apart. Amy, murdered by a werewolf. Jason, on a downward spiral from his girlfriend's death and Kyle, tempting her heart and hiding dangerous secrets. (In fact, everyone is hiding secrets). I love how determined Mac is. She may need saving from time to time, but she's no damsel in distress. She doesn't let fear hinder her from being proactive; she's desperate to bring justice to Amy, to prevent this from happening again, and especially to help close the case so the Trackers will leave town. A lot of heavy emotions and secrets threaten to weigh her down, but she takes every new blow with admirable strength. Plus, I love that she can make light of her life at times, comparing her romance to a CW show.

Mystery runs a thick and tangled web throughout the pages. You have your suspicions and maybe you're right, but hell if you can figure out the entire answer. The deeper Mac and Kyle dig, the faster your mind is whirring, just as conflicted as they are, just as desperate to latch onto the truth. The subtle clues, the tantalising build up and the final reveal were played out brilliantly. I actually felt a little Veronica Mars vibe at times; with the best friend murdered, the search to uncover who did it, and Mac having ghostly conversational dreams with Amy. I'm a VMars fan, so I loved this, and I think other fans will enjoy these hints toward one of the best shows unfairly cancelled.

It's equally thrilling and infuriating to watch the influence the Trackers exert, their unethical treatment of all werewolves. Yet it's a difficult position, because you recognise that there does need to be a system in play, because not all werewolves are going to be tamed little pups. But the Trackers methods? The torture? The concentration camps? The lies and manipulation and stripping these creatures of any form of human (or even animal!) rights? You want to scream at them (I was seething with rage in one particular scene, courtesy of the biggest asshole in Hemlock, Derby, who you want to throw into a pit of starving wolves). Give someone a taste for power and they'll come back for more and more, until you can no longer satisfy their increasing diet; but by then they've grown strong enough to take it by force. And when a group of extremists are more influential than the police force, slowly trickling into the government, you know it's time to start checking your every shadow twice.

Deadly Hemlock paints a world so eerily believable, even with it's supernatural/sci-fi roots. It's all too easy to imagine our own society descending in a similar fashion, with the way we segregate, point out differences and fear that which we don't understand. Kathleen has spun a disturbingly realistic, yet delightfully entertaining story that is guaranteed to grab you by it's paws claws and drag you along for a howling good read!

4.5/5 Golden Apples!

Add it: Goodreads

Friday, August 24, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Witch: A Summerland Mystery by Fiona Horne

Author: Fiona Horne
Release Date: 27th August 2012
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Add it: Goodreads
Thanks to: Allen & Unwin for the review copy!
When Vania moves from Australia to Summerland, California, the last thing she expects to feel is that she's come home. Maybe it's Summerland's unusual history - Vania is drawn to stories about magic and witchcraft and, as she discovers, the pretty coastal town was settled by Spiritualists.

And Vania's not the only teenager in town interested in magic. There are a few others including good-looking class president Bryce. Together they form their own club - a coven - but when they use their powers to investigate what happened to the mysterious woman of Queen's Cross, something goes wrong.

Vania knows that the coven's power is good but there is evil out there too. Something or someone is determined to hunt them down. What does this force want with the coven. What price will Vania have to pay for the truth?

Vania was always a bit of a loner growing up in Australia - strange things often happened around her - so when her parents decide to move the family to California, she wasn't expecting to fit in with the cool kids. But neither was she expecting to be treated like crap within her first two weeks of school. One of the popular girls, Cassidy, seems to have it in for Vania, so it doesn't help when Cassidy's boyfriend decides he's sick of her attitude and starts hanging out with Vania. Drawn together by a mutual interest in magic, Vania, Bryce, psychic twins Amelia and Alyssa, and new boy Dean, decide to form a coven and get swept up in a town mystery that may reveal more than just a murderer.

At first it seemed like the coven come together a little too conveniently. Vania's the new kid in school and suddenly the popular boy is opening up to her about his Spiritualist side and the twins proclaim they share a psychic bond. But I think perhaps that was the point; that these kind of people are drawn to one another. Like attracts like; that magical calling in them all was like a magnetic pull. They each found a place alongside each other where they finally fit in. With the added perk of practicing magic, of course!

Bryce is the class president, one of the most popular boys in the year and all-around nice guy. I was expecting his situation to be a bit messier; he seemed to break away from his girlfriend and the whole popular group a little too easily. I would have liked to have seen more struggle with escaping the clutches of popularity to hang out with those considered 'outcasts'. Regardless, he proved to be a really genuine guy and found his calling far better in the coven than as mean girl Cassidy's boyfriend. Vania was oblivious to his feelings for her. She was totally crushing on him, she wanted him to like her, but she wasn't picking up on the signs he was giving - a quality many of us have shared, despite our age!

The villain was easy to predict, although I wasn't dead certain on the motives. I began to form a vague idea, but a few of the details remained a little fuzzy. In terms of mystery and unfolding plot, there weren't any unique surprises when compared to the many other witchy novels on the market, but Fiona Horne's own life experience with witchcraft really shone through, making the magic appear all the more authentic. There's attention to detail in the spells, ingredients, the properties of different herbs and crystals, and the power of positive thinking. She also touches on spiritualist/medium elements, which was interesting.

I feel like Witch is better suited to a younger YA audience, as opposed to those who enjoy more mature themed YA. I found it to be a quick read; entertaining and compelling enough to keep you turning those pages, but not exactly one that will linger on your mind in the following days. So if you're looking for something fun, not necessarily world-changing, but a story that you can easily breeze through in a single sitting, then definitely crack open a copy of Witch! Perhaps it will surprise you :)

2.5/5 Golden Apples!
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GIVEAWAY!

Want to discover the magic for yourself? Thanks to the incredible Allen & Unwin, I have FIVE (count 'em, FIVE!!) copies of Witch: A Summerland Mystery to give away!

Sorry international readers, this is open to Australian residents only. Aussies, just fill out the form below and you're in with a chance! Good luck!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover #3

There's no denying a beautiful cover helps influence our decision in buying a book. And hey, we're shallow creatures! So this is an opportunity to not judge a book by it's cover and solely by it's fantastic summary. Of course, no cover means that the release date is likely a long way off, but it's a chance to add it to your Goodreads lists and stay up to date when the exciting cover reveal does come!


This week's pick...

The Night Itself (The Katana Trilogy #1) by Zoë Marriott
Release Date: 2013
Publisher: Walker Books
Add to: Goodreads

A breathtaking new urban fantasy trilogy from the critically acclaimed, award winning author of The Swan Kingdom and Shadows on the Moon.

When fifteen year old Mio Yamato furtively sneaks the katana - an ancestral Japanese sword - out of its hiding place in her parent's attic to help liven up her Christmas party costume, she has no idea of the darkness she is about to unleash on modern day London, or the family secrets that she is going to uncover.

The paralysing paranoia that descends on her before she gets to her friend's party is her first clue. The vivid and terrifying visions that nearly get her killed are a pretty good warning too.

The giant nine-tailed cat demon that comes after the sword and tries to rip her throat out? Overkill.

Seconds away from becoming kitty-food, Mio accidentally releases Shinobu, a warrior boy who has been trapped within the sword for centuries. He saves her life and sends the demon running. But it's already too late. Mio has ruptured the veil between the mortal realm and the Underworld, and now the gods and monsters of ancient Japan stalk the streets of London, searching for her and the sword.

With the help of her best friend Jack, a fox spirit named Hikaru - and the devoted protection of the betwitchingly familiar Shinobu - Mio attempts to discover the true nature of the sword and its connection to the Yamato family. Because if she doesn't learn how to control the katana's incredible powers, she's in danger of being overwhelmed by them. And if she can't keep the sword safe from the terrible creatures who want it for their own, she'll lose not only her own life... but the love of a lifetime.


My thoughts:
Um... WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT!!! The gods and monsters of Japan unleashed upon London? HOW AWESOME IS THAT GOING TO BE? A nine-tailed cat demon and katanas and fox spirits and a heroic warrior boy and.. why is this book not out yet?? So excited!

You can find Zoë Marriott at:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Calling All Aspiring Writers! (Plus man candy. Nom)




Calling all aspiring writers! 

Those amazing, hard-working Professional Bookworms at Harlequin Australia have just launched their very own 'digital first publishing imprint'.

"Wuzzat, Brodie?" you ask. Well, in their own words:
Our mission: To connect readers all around the world with the stories they want to read. 
We love romance, all romance, so when we imagined Harlequin Escape, we imagined an imprint without restrictions, where romance readers can find the romance they want, in the style they want, at the length they want, whenever they want. In short, you want it – we’ve got it.

If it’s science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, historical, erotic, inspirational romance, urban fantasy, paranormal – or any mixture of the above, Harlequin Escape’s got it. We offer all levels of sensuality from the sweetest kisses to the hottest encounters. We offer different lengths, from short stories through novellas to full length novels. Our novels are standalone, loosely connected, or part of an ongoing series.

Harlequin Escape sources stories from all over the world, but maintains a strong local focus, with Australian authors telling Australian stories in their indomitable Australian style. All stories are DRM free, and available world-wide.

"THAT'S SO AWESOME. But how is that going to help me, the aspiring writer?" WELL...

Harlequin Escape is landing portal for open manuscript submissions to expand on local acquisition and to unearth new Australian writing talent.

The traditional publishing model, of sending manuscripts in, can be daunting and difficult to navigate. So we’ve created a portal where authors can openly and easily submit their work online, which creates the opportunity for more potential new authors.

So dust off those manuscripts lurking in your desk drawers and start submitting!! What have you got to lose? Soon, it could be YOUR novel us bloggers are gushing over.

Want to know more about Harlequin Escape? CLICK ME! 
Ready to submit your future bestselling novel? CLICK ME!
Want inspiration from the Harlequin Escape blog? CLICK ME!
Want to feast your eyes on a sexy Harlequin boy? LOOK BELOW!

While we're on the topic of Harlequin being awesome, they've just revealed the Australian cover for THE LOST PRINCE, little Ethan... grown-up-and-sexy Ethan's spin-off story in The Iron Fey series.

While this one covers up his chest, I think I actually like it better. His eyes look less creepy compared to the US one and I like the focus on the side of his face, with the hint of the design on his chest. 

What about you?!

Who else is excited to read The Lost Prince??


Friday, August 17, 2012

Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter


Author: Gena Showalter
Release Date: September 25th 2012 (US) | October 2012 (AUS)
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Add it: Goodreads
Thanks to: HarlequinTEEN Australia for the review copy!
She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

There was a sneaky black hole hidden within the very first page of Alice in Zombieland, sucking me in without second thought of my eating, sleeping and general-living habits. Alice lives a sheltered and controlled life. Her father sees monsters - he's been this way since before she was even born. She thinks he's crazy, but that doesn't stop him from preventing Alice and her sister from never stepping foot outside their house after dark, when the monsters roam free. Until the night of Alice's birthday, when she convinces her father to let her sister attend a dance performance she's been so excited about. That's the night Alice became an orphan. Father, mother, sister - all gone in the car crash. A car crash where Alice is sure she saw her father's body beaten eaten by monsters. Taken into the care of her grandparents, Alice adapts to her new life, where Rabbit-shaped clouds loom ominously above, zombie-brides hover outside her bedroom window and the mysterious Cole Holland and his gang are hiding a deadly secret that Ali's about to get twisted up in.

Alice in Zomibland sports such a stellar cast of characters. Ali herself is the kind of heroine you want to read about; she gives as good as she gets. She can hold her own in both a fist fight and verbal sparring; girl has she-balls! Her determination, courage and overall kickassery really make her one of the better heroines to read. Then there's her Nana and Pops, who I wasn't expecting to be so adorable! They really try to connect on a 'teen' level with her, which provides plenty of laugh-out-loud reactions as they get it all wrong. You just want to wrap them up and take them home to be your own grandparents. Except when you have a boy come over. Trust me, you want to avoid that interrogation.

I can't go any further without mentioning Ali's new best friend: Kat. Oh, I freaking LOVED KAT! She and I shared an insta-love connection the moment she forced her way onto page, even though I did ponder whether or not she was on crack. Without question, she has to be one of my favourite ever best-friend characters. She's bold and fierce and HILARIOUS, and the most loyal, fluffy, little pitbull in the world. Her on-again-off-again, sort-of relationship with Frosty (his nickname will grow on you, it has a backstory) was so entertaining. I think I love it more than if they were actually together. They're perfect for one another in that, 'Go away / Come closer / I love you / I hate you,' kind of way... she's always pushing, he's always pulling, and you're always cheering for more, more, more.

The sexual tension between Ali and Cole took some time for me to enjoy. I wasn't a huge fan of their growing romance in the beginning, and I was shaking the book in substitute for Ali's shoulders when she went into the forest alone with him! But the more time they spent together, the more I enjoyed their banter and confidence, the way neither of them would wield to the other. I love that Ali stood her ground. Cole can be an intimidating figure, but she didn't allow him to think he could tell her what to do, even if she was a little nervous at times. It was interesting to watch how they adapted to one another; growing to respect their strong personalities. Cole is not a warm and fuzzy kind of guy, but he can't be in his situation. He's fiercely loyal and protective of those he cares about. He gives tough love, but it comes from a genuinely good place. He can be cheeky though, and with patience, you see his softer side peek through.

This has to be one of the most unique zombie books I've read. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but never would I thought of.... THIS. With weird visions when certain people make eye contact,  spirit-fighting, balls of fire and hoards of zombies who don't exactly feast in the traditional way. It all fits together to make perfect sense in such a refreshing way. For those who think they've seen it all when it comes to zombies, Alice will definitely surprise you!

Whether you're a fan of Gena's previous work or not, I highly recommend this to anyone eager for something a little different. A book that keeps you on your toes, giggling into the night or clutching a hand to your heart in despair. It's the perfect balance of humour and seriousness. It manages to strongly convey emotions of loss, sadness and regret... I wasn't expecting these to punch me with such impact, especially so early in the story. Or for the genuine moments of hilarity that drew a grin on my face with permanent marker. Alice in Zombieland is the universal meal of choice for zombies, carnivores, vegetarians, freegans and rainbow munchers. It has enough appeal to leave everyone's mouth watering for MOOOOOOOOOOORE!

4.5/5 Golden Apples!

Add it: Goodreads

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover #2

There's no denying a beautiful cover helps influence our decision in buying a book. And hey, we're shallow creatures! So this is an opportunity to not judge a book by it's cover and solely by it's fantastic summary. Of course, no cover means that the release date is likely a long way off, but it's a chance to add it to your Goodreads lists and stay up to date when the exciting cover reveal does come!


This week's pick...

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Never was a passing grade so important.

Welcome to the United Commonwealth – a group of 18 colonies in North America that survived the brutal effects of biochemical war and natural disasters. Every year the Commonwealth selects the best and the brightest graduates from each colony to be candidates for attendance at the University where they will use their talents to help restore the earth and help the Commonwealth thrive.

As the youngest graduate in the smallest colony, mechanically inclined Cia desperately wishes to be chosen for The Testing, but she knows her chances are slim. And yet – four are chosen and Cia is one of them. But her elation is short lived for her father believes the testing isn’t as it appears. Students who don’t pass are never heard from again and those that do move on can no longer remember what happened during those fateful days. Now Cia must decide who to trust and hope that her wits are enough not only to get a passing grade, but to keep both her and her friends alive.

My thoughts:

Colour me intrigued! The Testing sounds like an honour on the surface, something any academic student would strive toward achieving.... but dig a little deeper and the sinister secrest come to light! I WANT TO KNOW MORE. What exactly happens to the students who don't pass? Will Cia make it through? I'm very interested in learning more about the world-building too.

You can find Joelle Charbonneau at:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Owl Post #11

Inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox, Owl Post allows me to excitedly share all the yummy books I get in the mail each week! Owl's are much faster and more reliable than sneaky postmen, and the common way for magical folk to send and receive letters and parcels. Yes. I went to Hogwarts. Be jealous.

I was one of the bloggers who participated in the cover and excerpt reveal for White Lines early last month, and the publishers were kind enough to send a review copy! It's not out until next year, but I'm in the mood to read it so I'll be starting this next. I have high hopes for this!

I hear this is a mix between Downton Abbey and Gossip Girl? Neither show I watch, so that really doesn't help me much, but who doesn't enjoy a little scandal mixed with their historical every so often? Okay, maybe you in the far corner...

This was a surprise review copy, I hadn't even heard of it or the author before (a fellow Aussie!). It's a very quick read, I finished it this afternoon. I think it's probably more suited toward a younger audience, though. I should have my review up soon.

What have the owls delivered to you this week?
Need the specifics so I can have my owls come steal your goodies.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Losing Lila Blog Tour: Interview between Sarah Alderson & MyAnna Buring!

Welcome to the 9th stop on the UK & Australian blog tour for the amazing sequel to Hunting Lila, LOSING LILA. Have you checked out the incredible posts so far on the tour? Our favourite author extraordinaire has been one busy lady!

I'm feeling a little starstruck today, because not only do I have an amazingly talented author here, but also a star from the Twilight Saga movies! Sarah Alderson (goddess author of Hunting Lila, Losing Lila and Fated) and her good friend MyAnna Buring (amazing actress; one of her roles being Tanya Delani from Twilight: Breaking Dawn) chat below about everything from life, their favourite Lila characters, who MyAnna would like to play in the movies and of course, some Alex vs. Edward comparisons... (Team Skinny Dipping Lieutenant, please!). These are both such inspirational woman, I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did!

Be warned: there may be one or two spoilers for those who have not read Hunting Lila yet.
______________________________________________________________


Interview between Myanna Buring & Sarah Alderson

Sarah: Myanna, you’re a well-known actress, you first hit the big screen in The Descent (which, incidentally, scared the bejusus out of me) and last year you starred in the critically acclaimed movie Kill List, but perhaps your biggest role is in the Twilight Breaking Dawn films, in which you play Tanya Denali – the vampire who loves Edward…but I met you when you were about nineteen and we were both at Bristol University making student productions. My memory of you from that time is of this impossibly glamorous beautiful girl who was also incredibly funny and charming to go with it. I was quite in awe. And now you’re a Hollywood movie star and I’m writing books that hopefully one day you’ll star in the movie version of. Life is funny isn’t it?

Myanna: It is! You remember me as glamorous?!!? I can't remember that but I do remember you... I think you were living on some boat with a photographer (Sarah: hahahaha…no, that’s not quite right. I had done that but that was before uni) and I thought you were one of the most interesting people around! While many were worrying about how to do their washing or get the mice out if their kitchen you were out grabbing life by the horns- nothing's really changed in that respect. Still think you are inspirational in how you throw yourself wholeheartedly into life's adventures: leaving London's rat race, moving to Bali, deciding to write and going for it... Thank goodness you did because otherwise we wouldn't have Lila- whom I love. And who sort of brought us back in touch....

Sarah: Could you ever have imagined how life would turn out? And what piece of advice would you give to people in their teens?

Myanna: You can't plan life and nor should you! That said I think taking time to figure out what you want, how to do it and, then going for it is important- it allows you to point yourself in the right direction. I would advise teens (anyone for that matter) to not sweat the small stuff- be kind, be generous, spend time doing things you actually like as opposed to what you think others want you to do. Go out and live life proactively, and don't waste your time with people who make you feel bad about yourself.

Sarah: You’re a big fan of Hunting Lila and Losing Lila – who is your favourite character?

Myanna: I am a huge fan of Hunting and Losing Lila! I absolutely love Lila- I think she's got this great self deprecating humour, and her lust for Alex just reminds me of being in my teens. Alex is simply the most delicious man created, for me he's closely followed by Demos. I just love the Demos twist- you believe him to be this terrible man, and then all your preconceptions are turned on their head and you realize he is working from a place of love, and for what is right.

Sarah: Alex vs Edward – compare and contrast please.

Myanna: Alex is human. Edward is not. Being around Alex isn't necessarily dangerous for Lila, in fact loving Lila is probably more risky for Alex. Whereas Edwards vampiric thirsts are a constant potential threat for Bella. (though credit where credit is due- he has got incredible self control!) Both are deliciously hot, chivalrous, and caring males created by awesome female writers!

Sarah: If you could play any character in Hunting Lila who would you play and why?

Myanna: Probably Rachel or Amber. They're really different but, such great characters! Rachel is just so devious and that's really fun to play. And Amber is the complete opposite- she seems so full of light and composure- which of course makes it all the more heart breaking when she looses her love...

Sarah: As an actress you must get to play opposite some amazing actors – if you were Lila who would play your leading man Alex? And who would you like to see playing Demos?

Myanna: If I were playing Lila- I would definitely want your inspiration for Alex- Alex Skarsgaard to play opposite me! If looking at someone younger I'm intrigued by what Nick Roux might bring to the part. Demos for me has always been Vincent Cassel... He's just got an incredible charisma and a sense of danger and revolution about him.

Sarah: Which scenes do you think in Hunting Lila and in Losing Lila would be the most amazing on the big screen?

Myanna: In Hunting Lila - I think the scenes where all the Psys turn up and Demos's story is revealed are great... I'd be so excited to see how that could be done. I'm also dying to see the chemistry between Lila and Alex!!!!

In Losing Lila the very first chase scene is epic! It's got a Bourne/Bond quality to it that would be awesome to see on screen.

Myanna: Did you ever write when you were younger? Or was Hunting Lila truly your first attempt at it?

Sarah: I never wrote anything. I remember when I was about 9 being asked to write a story about an invention and I couldn’t think of anything. The page just taunted me. I still have nightmares about it. Hunting Lila really was my first attempt.

Myanna: I know you often write with people in mind when you are creating characters. Who was in your head when writing Lila? What inspired her and in what ways do you relate to her?

Sarah: Actually, Lila was about the only character I never had anyone in my head for. She was just there from the start and I suppose that I drew on a lot of my own personality for her. A lot of my friends say they hear me speaking when she talks. I really relate to that obsessive love you feel when you’re seventeen, where it feels as though your world will fall apart if you’re not with that person. And I also love how she doesn’t take no for an answer but is relentless. She’s also insecure, which I think deep down most of us are, yet in Losing Lila I like to see how she grows in confidence and starts to become this formidable young woman not scared to take on the might of a corporation that has shown it has no qualms in behaving immorally.

Myanna: As I mentioned above- Lila's lust for Alex reminded me of being a teenager- but the fact that her lust is rooted in a much more sincere, enduring, and deeper love make it so much more special. For most people their first love is not their forever love. Is that what you think readers feel connected to though?

Sarah: We’re all undying romantics aren’t we? Hilariously if I think back to my first boyfriend at seventeen, god I adored him. We were so in love and now he’s…well let’s just say he’s not the sweet, lovely boy I knew then. I’m so glad we didn’t stay together. But I think there is that ideal – you know Taylor Swift sings about it all the time ;) that you meet the one and you stick together through thick and thin until you’re 80 and still gazing in love and adoration at each other in your matching incontinence pants.

There is something really beautiful about a relationship that’s built on a really long friendship like Lila and Alex’s. I think then it has the potential for more longevity.

Myanna: What were your favourite scenes to write in Hunting and Losing Lila? And did you plot Losing Lila straight after Hunting?

Sarah: I love writing the romance scenes. I’m so there in my head, feeling what Lila is feeling everytime that Alex comes near so when he’s half naked and kissing her, I can’t stop grinning as I write. My favourite scene in Hunting Lila was the scene where they first kiss in the motel room. I get butterflies just thinking about it and in Losing Lila I really loved their connection, because they’re with each other from the start in this book – there’s no great build up of will he won’t he? So I really enjoyed the tenderness, Alex’s protectiveness, their joint strength in fighting but most of all I enjoyed writing the skinny dipping scene!

Myanna: What scenes would you be most excited to see on the big screen?

Sarah: In Hunting Lila – the finale scene in Joshua Tree National Park. I want to see all the explosions and humvees being flipped. I’d also love to see the falling down the stairs scene.

In Losing Lila I would love to see the scenes shot in Mexico City when they’re on the run, being chased over rooftops and into the cathedral. Pure adrenaline. OK, and also the naked swimming in the Caribbean sea.

Myanna: I have this image of you looking out over the fields of Bali, sipping coconut juice while effortlessly churning out brilliant book after brilliant book. What is the reality of your working day as a writer like?

Sarah: Ahahahaha, yes, it is something like that. Although our beautiful view is slowly disappearing under concrete as people build on all the rice paddies. I do drink a lot of coconuts. I stick my headphones in and just write every day and I love it.

Myanna: What do you do to put yourself in a place where you can write? ESP when writing young adult novels- do you do anything that helps put you in a place from where you can relate?

Sarah: I don’t do anything really, other than listen to music. I read a lot, watch a lot of TV and movies too which helps give me ideas as does travelling and meeting new people – hearing their stories. I find exercise is good for getting the thought process going if I’m stuck. I dance a lot. Or being on a plane. Being away from internet access basically helps me focus.

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Find Hunting/Losing Lila at: 
Goodreads | Book Depository | Fishpond | Booktopia

Find Sarah at:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover #1


There's no denying a beautiful cover helps influence our decision in buying a book. And hey, we're shallow creatures! So this is an opportunity to not judge a book by it's cover and solely by it's fantastic synopsis. Of course, no cover means that the release date is likely a long way off, but it's a chance to add it to your Goodreads lists and stay up to date when the exciting cover reveal does come!

This week's pick...

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Release Date: Fall 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Marina has everything. She’s got money, popularity, and a bright future. Plus, she’s best friends with the boy next door, who happens to be a gorgeous prodigy from one of America’s most famous families.

Em has nothing. Imprisoned in a small white cell in the heart of a secret military base, all she has is the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

But Marina and Em have one big thing in common: they’re the same person.

Now Em must travel back four years in time in order to avert the terrible future from which she’s fled, and there’s only one way to do it. She must kill the person who invented the time machine in the first place: someone from her past. A person she loved.

But Marina won’t let them go without a fight.

My thoughts:

Holy crap. Holy crap. Does this sound good or what? Nay, AMAZING! Em's paragraph is what hooked me, but BAM, my interested intensified a hundred times over when I read they're the same person. One from the future, one from the present. What happened during those four years that put Em... Marina... into a small cell of a secret military base? What will happen when she tries to kill the person she once loved... and then has to fight herself?! What happens if one accidentally killed the other? EEEEP!

Also, did you see the part about the TIME TRAVEL MACHINE? DID YOU? I'm a little obsessed with the idea of time travel. I'm also a little bit obsessed with getting my hands on this book.

You can find the author, Cristin Terrell, on her:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review: Rift by Andrea Cremer

Author: Andrea Cremer
Release Date: August 14th 2012 (AUS) | August 7th 2012 (US)
Publisher: Atom (AUS/UK) | Philomel
Add it: Goodreads
Thanks to: Hachette Australia for the review copy!
Discover where the Nightshade series began. . .

Ember has always known that she owed her life to a mysterious order of Knights who saved her as a baby. The same order of Knights who called her best friend to service, leaving her behind to play the dutiful daughter.

But shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Alistair returns. Although he seems altered - shadowed and brooding - Ember places her trust in him, knowing that he's her one chance to escape.

Little does she know what danger lies ahead. For this is a tumultuous time, and Ember will soon be caught up in an age-old struggle between darkness and light. Neither she, nor her heart, can possibly survive unscathed.

While set in the same world as her Nightshade series, Andrea Cremer's Rift takes place hundreds of years before Calla and her wolf pack stalk the woods of Vail. Rift follows an entirely new set characters (with a reappearance from a known enemy), and surrounds us with a beautiful new land (hello, Scotland!). If you haven't read the Nightshade trilogy, fear not, because you can easily slip into Rift's stunning tale of daggers and swords, magic and monsters, treachery and romance. Fans of the series, however, will take away something a little extra, as we see what really spurred on the creation of the Guardians (while we see no hint of paw in Rift, there's no doubt that furry tails will someday soon be entering Ember's world) and what divided a once united group, into what will become the Keepers and Searchers. It's one thing to read reference to an event in history, but to view it on a more personal level? To become entwined in the love, betrayal, heartache and action-packed danger these people are facing every day? That makes it all the more compelling, makes history truly come alive. 

In Rift's day and age, woman are expected to marry and bear children for their men. They're not permitted to fight in wars and wield deadly weapons. But hidden at the heart of Conatus, there are woman fighting alongside the Guard (albeit, few in number), woman just as strong and skilled as the men. Thanks to a deal made at her birth, Ember Morrow is about to become one of these woman. Ember is thrilled to be free of her father's overbearing reign. She was not born to spin a wheel and sew, or bend to the will of a male. At her core is a blazing spirit, eager to ignite the world. It's hard not to form an instant liking to Ember; her confidence, strong set of morals and willingness to learn make for a mighty and admirable heroine. Even though she's unprepared for the monsters that lay at the heart of the evil Conatus fights, she doesn't let fear overpower her, and stalls tall, stands proud and slashes down her opponents with beautiful courage. She is going to make one hell of a warrior by the end of the series!

Ember trains under the mentorship of Lord Barrow Hess, a man who fascinates and thrills her with his deadly grace and gentlemanly... manliness! You can't blame the girl for falling for him. Unlike Nightshade, there is no love triangle drawing it's geometry in Rift, though there is another man, one who I assure won't be winning hearts any time soon! There's a flame simmering every time Ember and Barrow make interaction, but it doesn't overwhelm the story. It's set to a low simmer, maintaining a steady warmth that gradually builds in heat. When the flames rise up, you're consumed as much as they are, but when the plot demands attention, those flames don't incinerate it's significance. I love the balance of overall plot and romance.

Rift not only follows Ember's journey, but another woman warrior named Eira. This provides an intriguing parallel. Both woman play pivotal roles in the progression of the upcoming war. One is a warrior in training, strong in her values and intent to fight evil; the other is already revered and awed for her deadly skills, but in her beats a heart that craves more. And when the darkness offers that something more, are her morals as strong as her armor? It makes such interesting reading to see how the choices of these women take them on such differing paths and how supposedly good intent can twist into something much more sinister.

Andrea Cremer weaves the perfect balance between action, romance, supernatural, politics and history. You'll easily grow to love Ember and cheer on as she becomes embroiled in an exciting new world that equal parts terrifies and invigorates her. Rift does not fail to deliver everything that makes the Nightshade series such a success, and while the future surely does not bode well for our young heroine, I cannot wait to continue this journey with her!
 4/5 Golden Apples!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Owl Post #10 + New Layout!

Inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox, Owl Post allows me to excitedly share all the yummy books I get in the mail each week! Owl's are much faster and more reliable than sneaky postmen, and the common way for magical folk to send and receive letters and parcels. Yes. I went to Hogwarts. Be jealous.

I only read a little of this today, but this book and I? Instant love! It's nothing at all like I was expecting, but oh it's SO GOOD. Fingers crossed the awesomeness of the beginning maintains throughout the rest of the novel. I have two other of Gena's novels, which will definitely be read soon after this!!

What have the owls delivered to you this week?
_________________________________________________

Pretty New Layout!

But the owls didn't stop with just a book, they treated me to a whole new layout! I have the AMAZINGLY talented Amelia from The Graphic Files for my stunning header and blog button. She really is creative goddess and it's just... SO PRETTY! Thank you so much, Amelia! And I also must thank the ever patient Sarah for her advice and putting up with my annoying questions (and pretending it DIDN'T annoy her).

Sooooo, what do you think? Like it? Quite different in style to what I've had in the past, but I really like the change! If there's anything not working or causing you issues, please do let me know so I can fix it. I'll be using the slideshow box up the top for any news, book spotlights or new releases and will update weekly or fortnightly.

I may also be trying out a new style of interviews soon... it will either be entertaining or ridiculously stupid. And of course, all depends if any authors are willing. We shall see!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Review: Blood Storm (Lharmell #2) by Rhiannon Hart

Author: Rhiannon Hart
Release Date: August 1st 2012
Publisher: Random House Australia
Add it: Goodreads
Thanks to: Random House AU for the review copy!
The rain wanted to be ocean; the ice in the mountain caps wanted freedom. I never knew that water held such longing. The clouds above my head rumbled like a growling wolf, impatient to release their burden. I held the rain there a moment longer. I turned to Renata, heard her gasp and knew my eyes glowed blue.

I spoke a single word. 'Rain.'


In the Second Book of Lharmell, Zeraphina and Rodden must travel across the sea to find the elusive ingredients that will help them to win the coming battle against the Lharmellin – but shadows from Rodden’s dark past may come back to haunt him. And while she learns to harness her new abilities, Zeraphina still fights the hunger that makes her crave the north – not to mention avoiding her mother, who wants to see her wayward daughter married to a prince at all costs

Given the trouble Zeraphina and Rodden caused in Lharmell at the end of Blood Song, it's no surprise to say things are changing in Blood Storm. But in a much subtle, devious, what-is-going-on kind of way. The weather has been far better in Armentia, for starters, and when the weather shifts, dear readers, you ought to be alarmed. Suspicious murders are on the rise, and Rodden's hackles are raised. Determined to find out what the Harmings are up to and who the new Lharmellin leader is, our delightful duo set upon a journey in search for materials fatal to the Lharmellins, so they can arm themselves and strike agai. Preferably before the Lharmellins and Harmings take over. A journey rife with danger, terrible secrets, entertaining banter and an ending that will shock!

Zeraphina is just as stubborn and feisty as ever; a girl who throws the standard notion of "Princess" off a cliff and stands proudly in defiance. She's growing into new abilities, courtesy of her Harming nature, which prove to be an exciting journey for both her and us. She and Rodden are, as always, simultaneously at odds with one another and yet fighting this burning attraction that is so obviously evident! You're growling at them both to give in already. But we're rewarded with something we've been waiting for just as long: answers to 'The Mystery of the Sexy and Infurating Rodden Lothskorn'. Thanks to Zeraphina's unwavering persistence, he reluctantly lets down his barriers to expose the devastating truth of his past. And oh, it will make you ache for him.

But knowing the truth doesn't mean these two are going to jump on the back of a brant and engage in some airborne romping. If anything, this revelation appears to cement the divide between them. Fear not, though, because the easy banter and blistering romantic tension are still ever present. It's just Zeraphina has a greater understanding of The Mystery Formerly Known As Rodden Lothskorn... so she's given reason to play by his annoyingly chaste rules.  But how long can they really deny their feelings for one another?

Amidst the life and death of the Lharmell problem, Zeraphina has another shudder-worthy dark cloud hovering over her head.... marriage. Her 17th birthday is nearly upon her and Queen Renata, is adamant that her daughter marry. Oh Renata.... you want to hate her, scream at her in frustration, but there is something I find so delightfully amusing about her scenes. I think it's because Zeraphina does whatever she can to get under Renata's skin and she's not the perfect, obedient daughter. She's that wild child who Renata is desperate to reign in, but despite her efforts, it's clear she never will. This paves the way for some ridiculously entertaining scenes. But Zeraphina's stay in Armentia is not an entirely pleasant read. You know that type of Royal who has you wanting to claw the very skin off their face? Yeah, we meet a man of such breed and I VERY MUCH WANTED TO CLAW THE SKIN OFF HIS FACE.

The ending. Don't even.... I don't want to... just don't ask. I had to reread the last couple of pages as soon as I finished, just to make sure I read it right. WHAT. THE. LHARMELLINS DO YOU THINK YOU'RE PLAYING AT, MISS HART?! You can't DO that and then cackle madly from your throne (likely carved from humans, she's so EVIL) and tell us we have to wait until the next book to see what happens next. YOU HORRID LADY. It's.... definitely a cliffhanger. A cruel, 'WHAT THE EFF?' moment that has you not quite wanting to believe what just happened. And I don't, for your information. I JUST DON'T, OKAY?

Despite the cruelty of the final pages, there's no denying Rhiannon Hart is a brilliant Aussie talent, treating us to a thrilling sequel that oozes with danger, mystery, a feisty, ever complicated romance, and a climax to leave you breathless. You'll be begging for the third installment in the trilogy by the time you reach the acknowledgements page, because... DAMN YOU, RHIANNON!

4.5/5 Golden Apples!

Add: Goodreads
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