Tuesday, December 18, 2012

FINAL ROUND: Young Adult 2012 Reader Choice Awards!


You’ve voted, we’ve tallied, and the numbers are in! Here are your Top Ten (give or take) contenders in each category. Place your final votes, have fun, and may the odds be ever in your favourites’ favour! 

Once you've voted, don't forget to go follow the amazing, hard-working, Queen-of-the-blogosphere-with-her-breathtaking-talent-and-creativity Sarah, the brains behind this fabulous event!

Guidelines:
  • Voting is open until the 1st of January 2013
  • You may vote for one book in each category. Don’t have a vote? Just leave it blank.
  • Books with a ‘traditional’ pub date between December 2011 through to December qualify. We are aware there are a few books from Late November 2011 (Nov 28th) on the list.
  • Have fun, and spread the word!

Thank you to everyone who helped out during the voting process by picking up on mistakes, oversights, and being generally encouraging and amazing. After some discussion, we've decided to leave self-pubbed books in the voting which were first traditionally published in 2012. We’ll get it better next time, promise!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Giveaway & Double Cover Reveal: Cold Fury + Flicker & Burn by T.M Goeglein!

I'm so excited to be one of the blogs helping reveal the two gorgeous new covers for T.M Goeglein's Cold Fury trilogy. COLD FURY was first released July 2012, but the paperback with it's chilly new design will be frosting up bookstores from JUNE 2013.

Which gives you enough time to meet 16 year old Sara Jane Rispoli and become embroiled in her dangerous world of masked assassins, ass-kicking action, mystery and mafia before the release of the sequel, FLICKER & BURN, in AUGUST 2013. But if you can't wait that long to get your hands on a copy, keep scrolling for a super hot giveaway to win an ARC as soon as they become available!

Paperback release with newly designed cover is June 2013

Released August 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
The thrill ride that began in Cold Fury kicks into high gear in Flicker & Burn, as the threats to Sara Jane Rispoli come at her from all directions. She continues the desperate search for her missing family, but this time she’s on the run from creepy beings with red, pulsing eyes and ghostly white skin chasing her through the streets of Chicago in black ice cream trucks – they can only be described as Ice Cream Creatures. They're skeletal and ferocious, hell-bent on catching or killing her, but also a weird link to her family, a clue to where they might be and who has them.

While Sara Jane battles these new pursuers, she learns painful lessons about the phenomenon that possesses her, cold fury. At the same time, she’s uncovering buried secrets about the misdeeds of her family – old murders and blood vendettas – that might be connected to the disappearance of her mom, dad, and brother. The mysteries, violence, and constant state of chasing or being chased could be the undoing of her relationship with handsome Max Kissberg. Despite the love growing between them, Sara Jane can’t tell him the truth about her life, and fears for his safety.

Not only do the Ice Cream Creatures display the grisly amputated finger of her mom to prove their viciousness, and not only does Lucky, the Outfit Boss of Bosses, whistle in Sara Jane for a sit-down with deadly consequences, but her gorgeous cousin, Heather Richards, enters the scene, as well. All that matters to Sara Jane is saving her family and keeping everyone she loves alive and safe. But the forces she encounters, both external and the ones crackling inside of her, fight her every step of the way.
Add or buy the books at:

Find T.M Goeglein at:
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My Thoughts:
What do you think?! I love both the original cover for Cold Fury AND the redesigned, but I think I'm slightly more partial to the redesigned covers. I love the frost and fire effects on the text, the colours matching the titles, the sense of darkness in the shots with Sara-Jane (the protagonist) and seeing the city represented, since it's almost a character of it's own in the books.

What are your thoughts on the new covers?
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Giveaway!
Thanks to T.M Goeglein and Putnam Juvenile, you have the chance to win an ARC of Flicker & Burn as soon as it’s available! Please note that the giveaway is US ONLY.  Simply fill out the form below to enter!

Entries close December 26th 2012.


If the form doesn't load, please click here.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Owl Post #18

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.

 I got these from a book swap with the wonderful Nomes. I've been SUPER eager to read both, and especially If I Lie after all the incredible reviews from some of my favourite bloggers. For Darkness Shows The Stars will also be my first Diana Peterfreund novel. I hope it impresses!

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
This was SUCH an amazingly awesome surprise!!! I have been wanting to read this for so long and especially after the mere-mortal-words-can't-describe-how-awesome-she-is Becca gushed about it, I knew I needed to read it. So what did she do? She sent me a copy this week. She is honestly the sweetest Aussie you'll meet and I love her and I hope she knows I'm totally eating some hot vegan bread while I read this <3

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
To be honest, I probably would have overlooked this book had I not been asked if I wanted to review it. But then I took the time to check it out, gauge reader reactions and... I was intrigued. I'm so glad it was brought to my attention, because I've just started reading it and it already has me hooked! I have high hopes for the rest of the story.

Never has there been a more appropriately titled "Owl Post"....

I GOT MY HOGWARTS LETTER!!!!! *SQUEALS* I KNEW IT. I KNEW IT. I KNEW I WAS DESTINED FOR BUTTERBER AND MIDNIGHT DUELS AND RUNNING INTO PRETEND BRICK WALLS AND OMG OMG OMG OMG. It came late, but with it came an understanding of why it was late: Owl Flerbitis. No matter, it's finally HERE! AND OMFG I'M GOING TO HOGWARTS!!!!

And it would never have been possible without Dumbly-dorr's unfathomably amazing understudy Sarah (or is she Voldemort's? Maybe she's a spy a la Snape. Either way, still the best f**** spy this world has ever known), for getting my letter to me exactly 11 years later (ELEVEN. THE MAGICAL DOTS ARE CONNECTING). I don't know if you know this, but I effing love her.

What have the beautiful owls delivered to you this week?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Guest Post: BlogINK finalist Faye shares her fave books + GIVEAWAY!


[This guest post is written by a very special friend of mine; she's been the angel (or devil?) on my shoulder since I was a wee 14 year old first finding my feet in the online writing community. She embraced me with her friendly, British charm, humour and kindness. And now today, I want to not only share with you her amazing taste in books, but also help her win an incredible opportunity with Mira Ink that she so truly deserves! Plus, if you spare literally ONE minute to watch/share her video, you go into the draw to win a Christmas surprise!]


I’m starting this post by giving Brodie a huge thank you! In truth, she has been a big supporter of me, my blog, and my writing for many, many years and so it is so nice to be able to come and write a post for all of her lovely followers today! Did I mention yet how amazing we all know Brodie is? *cough* So, today I have written a post for you about some wonderful books that I love and admire!

It has been said that books are extremely powerful pieces of art and entertainment. They can carry strong messages, allowing those who are struggling through issues to realise that they are not alone. They can be lessons that we learn and can help to shape ourselves within society. It is for all of these reasons that I often find myself loving to read. It is not only an escape, but a new way of looking at the world.

Because of this, I have decided to highlight some of the books that I have read, either growing up or more recently since having this blog, that have affected me in some way; they have reached within me and touched my heart.


1. The Harry Potter Series
It would be honestly impossible to write a post without including this series. Ever since I started reading it, I became instantly attached but not just because the story was so brilliant, but because it helped me. It showed me that there were friends out there who would stand by you and that love can triumph above everything else. It showed me how to be brave and it just simply gave me so many lessons throughout the years I grew up that I can’t help but be a huge fan of the series.
 
2. Lucas by Kevin Brooks
My favourite single book because it was the first book I read that didn’t have a happy ending. I hated books with happy endings growing up because it didn’t make them seem real to me, how could any of these good things actually happen in real life? In Lucas, Kait simply writes her story as she remembers it, all the good parts and the bad parts and it feels so real and amazing that it helped to teach me that pain is a part of life but that good feelings are always right around the corner.

3. The Noughts and Crosses Trilogy
Aside from these books being absolutely amazingly written and Malorie Blackman just simply being one of the most inspiring writers I have ever had the pleasure of reading, this trilogy also helped me when I was growing up. It taught me that we should never let society stop us from being with who we want to be with. That we can’t help who we fall in love with and that everyone should be treated equally. Of course, it had a lot of darkness and destruction within the book and was emotionally grading for a lot of it, but overall, it taught a lot about humanity and the way we act and it simply helped me.

4. Everything Cecilia Ahern has ever written
Okay, so a bit of a cheat as it was never just one book that has inspired me when it comes to Cecilia Ahern but it would be impossible to choose just one for this post. All of her stories have this most magical feel to them but she also brings about messages of acceptance, friendship, love, imagination and just the idea that anything can be inspiring and amazing if we make it so. She is the writer that I truly aspire to be like.

5. Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid
This story is devastating. Truly and honestly. But it is so inspired too. It holds messages about looking past the outer image, of looking past what is simply obvious on the outside and understanding that everyone carries their own baggage. It is a book about friendship, love, loss and simply learning how to grow and survive within the world. It talks about acceptance and familial love and it is just such a powerful book that it was impossible to read this book and not take some true life lessons from it. 

6. Emerald City by Alicia K. Leppert
Depression is one of those “invisible” illnesses that people who have never had it will never truly understand. They cannot see what would drive someone to suicide, they do not understand why someone would simply refuse to get out of bed or to run away and this book really does a grand job of touching on this subject. It shows how it is possible to fight the depression and to keep things going. It’s a lovely story that actually helped me during a time when I myself was fighting to keep myself from being swallowed by the big black whole of depression.


7. The Kite Runner & Ten Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini 
This man is by far an immense writer and the stories he writes are incredibly inspirational. He details stories of friendship, of torment, and struggles unknown to many and he goes outside of the box to show what love and life can truly be like. His writing is brilliant and his books have always managed to find a special place in my heart and I manage to carry the messages of his stories wherever I go. It is not our place to take things for granted.

8. Faith by Jodi Picoult 
The first book of Jodi’s that I read which made me instantly fall in love with her work. This book talks not just about faith in religion but also faith in each other and faith being able to just help us live this life. It is full of love, friendship and simply an inspiring and magical story that truly touched me. It also opened me up to the rest of Jodi’s work which is all incredibly amazing and brilliant.

9. Speechless by Hannah Harrington 
It would have been impossible to finish this post without mentioning one of my new all-time favourite authors. Hannah has managed to find a way to really tell real stories about real people. This story covers serious topics of bullying, gossiping, fighting and homophobia. Yet it is dealt with so amazingly and has some really great lessons and messages hidden within its text that it would be incredibly difficult to read this book and walk away without thinking about life in general and our roles within it.

10. The Divergent Series 
This story is one that tells the tale of a strong, powerful feminine who is willing to fight for what she believes in. It has a good sense of friendship, hope and love and it is truly an inspiring dystopian series. It is one that I will remember for a long time and one that I would easily be able to reread as well. It shows that when we feel like we’re truly alone in the world, there may just be others around the corner that are like us and are willing to do everything they can to make sure we never feel like we’re alone again.

There are many more books that have touched me over the years, but these are some that will probably forever be carried along with me. Authors who I will always be grateful for as they have helped me in ways that they probably didn’t even realise they were doing at the time. This is why books are so amazing, because while they transport us to another world and another place, they also teach us some amazing, helpful and inspired lessons about the very world we live in and the very lives we lead each and every day.

Books are, in a nutshell, simply magical <3

Did you like this blog post? Would you like to see more posts like it? If the answer to that question is yes, then I need your help!

If you have just one minute to spare, I would love it if you could watch this video. If I get the most-watches, I may win my chance to blog for Mira INK, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

If you like the video and wish to comment, like or share it, I would be truly appreciative!

At the end of the competition on Dec 11th, I will be choosing one lucky commenter or sharer and they will win themselves a Christmas Surprise! So what are you waiting for?



To know more about the competition in general, click here

All interactions are truly appreciated and I want to thank you all now for the wonderful support! If you would like to get to know me better, feel free to follow my blog, my twitter, add me on facebook or goodreads, or e-mail me!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Young Adult 2012 Reader Choice Awards!


What a year. We've survived apocalypses, the dreaded Alice during Goodreads downtime and getting the news we have to wait another year for more Stephanie Perkins. But, on the bright side, from historical to contemporary, dystopian to paranormal, 2012 has been an amazing year for Young Adult fiction. The Goodreads Choice Awards are well underway, but I am bursting with excitement to be the sidekick to the clinically insane, yet delightful Sarah from saz101, to offer you the chance to have your say on the books you love, with a ‘choice awards’ just for Young Adult!

Guidelines:

  • The initial round of voting will run for 2 weeks, until the 15th of December. When votes are tallied, Finals will open, with the top 10 books in each category.
  • You may only vote for one book in each category
  • If you are voting for a book we've missed from the list, please ensure you enter the title as follows: BOOK NAME, AUTHOR NAME. This is crucial for us to correctly sort your vote.
  • Please make sure you include any 'the' prefixed to a book name. For instance, 'The Diviners by Libba Bray' is valid. 'Diviners by Libba Bray' is NOT.
  • Books from December 2011 through to December 2012 all qualify. If you're nominating a book not included on the list, please check the release date.
  • Have fun, and spread the word!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor


Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: Already out!
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Thanks to: Hachette Australia for the review copy!
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.


Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

I am blown away. You'd think after Daughter of Smoke and Bone, perhaps some of the awe would fade, that maybe the honeymoon period would dull because the newness of this riveting world has lost it's shine. Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Smoke and Bone is frightfully difficult to live up to; but apparently you can match perfection with ten thousand drops of ruthlessly spilled blood. The worldbuilding is expanded upon in greater detail, we see so much more of Eretz and though it's mostly viewed through lenses thick with terror and destruction, I found it fascinating to explore the power and majesty of both Chimaera and Seraphim. We meet new characters, some only briefly, but each leave behind a powerful punch. Alliances shift, emotions are exposed raw, and for those with a squeamish stomach or else naively hoping love will triumph and the worst death you'll witness is a quick and kind knife to the heart, I suggest you go find a nice book about unicorns and plug your ears against the wailing you'll hear from the rest of us as we read.

Days of Blood and Starlight is a war book. It's not the build up, nor the aftermath, but the chilling knee-deep reality of war.  It's not as simple as Seraphim vs. Chimaera. One is not simply the good or the bad. Through multiple perspectives, we're given a window into the evil, the innocent, and those seeking redemption on both sides so that you're never left secretly cheering one to obliterate the other. You feel the cost of every death and when it escalates in retaliation, you wonder how there will ever be hope of making peace. Violence breeds violence and it's a never ending cycle of death, loss, revenge; death, loss, revenge. Who really wins in the end? One side may make the final strike, but it's no victory when you have no one left alive to celebrate with.
 
Karou. It's hard to find light in her eyes anymore. She has lost that bright aura of happiness and curiosity we once saw; but not gone is her stubbornness. She is determined to right her 'wrongs' and she's offered a chance to repay those debts. She's living among an army of Chimara who see her as a traitor, there are few she can trust, but she has a purpose there, one that may buy her safety. I find it so unfair that she should feel ashamed when her only crime was of engaging in a love free from prejudice. How she is made out to be the traitor and bringer of doom when neither she nor Akiva swung the first blade against the 'enemy'. They dreamed of peace and instead were rewarded with a nightmare of murder. Even more devastating is to see her working with that... thing. A once enemy is now sort-of ally and a once lover is now the enemy. Cruel world.

Karou and Akiva don't share a great number of scenes together, if barely enough to fill a hand. The absence is an acute ache, but when they are together? It's a blade straight to the heart. Especially experiencing it from Akiva's mind; I would bleed a thousand rivers if only for him to find reason to smile again. He is, without question, one of my favourite males in fiction. Not for the purpose of schoolgirl swooning, but for the complexity and utter heartache of his development. He has endured the epitome of pain and sacrifice, and he's not without his own sins and horrific crimes, yet he constantly seeks redemption, never giving up even when he hits his lowest points. He's still chasing the dream of peace and unity. He refuses to be dragged back into the senseless killing, even as he's revered as the "Beasts Bane," destroyer of Chimaera. I so admire his perseverance.

Days of Blood and Starlight is a million shades darker, brutal and emotionally draining than the first book, but don't despair, there are still moments of happiness. Just in small doses. And they come primarily in the form of Zuzana and Mik; the world's most ADORABLE COUPLE EVER. Their love, their laughter, their brightness makes you forget, just for a moment, the ongoing torture and slaying elsewhere. A much needed reprieve from the battering the remainder of the book has on your heart.

If you have not yet been exposed the wonders of Laini Taylor's written art, then you have not experienced true literary love. It's hard to believe this is a work of fiction; I'm half expecting to look out my window and see blood raining from the sky as seraphim and chimaera ruthlessly battle above. Days of Blood and Starlight is alive; bleak and hopeless, violent and full of grief, but alive in every gut-aching emotion, every flash of blade and stroke of wing. It hurts so bad, because it's so astonishingly real. This is not a fairy tale, nor will there ever be a fairy tale ending, not with all that has been lost. Sacrificed. Stolen. But even in the darkest recesses of despair, there is the tiniest, tiniest, tiniest shred of hope and you latch onto it like it's your own soul trying to escape.

 5 million Golden Apples!

You can find Days of Blood and Starlight at:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Owl Post #17

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.

I won a giveaway from Youth Central for a Hot Key YA book pack, which includes all the novels you see except Possessed, Dance of Shadows and Mara Dyer. EVERYONE has been raving about The Vincent Boys and I'm dying to see why! I just hope it will live up to my huge expectations ;) Also came with a bad boy/good guy bookmark.
I've been wanting to read more historical and/or books centered around war lately, so what perfect timing to get this! A romance set in such scary times? You have Brodie hook, line and sinker.

Angel Dust by Sarah Mussi
 I love me an angel read, so I'm willing to give this a try and see what it offers. Hopefully something fresh and captivating! Anyone read it?

I have been excited to read this! It's set in the 17th century and there's astronomy and romance and it sounds like a beautiful coming of age/destiny-or-freewill story.

Possessed by Niki Valentine
Never heard of this prior to receiving it for review and I haven't seen too many raving opinions, but it does sound interesting. And my ears always perk up at "psychological thriller."

Some of you might remember me reviewing this earlier this year. Well, perhaps ''fangirling" is more appropriate :) If you haven't read it already, I highly recommend!

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
 This came with a bottle of nail polish and a polaroid to emphasise the mystery of "Where is Margaret Adler?" Gorgeous cover, too! I'm not usually a big fan of reading dance books, but it sounds delightfully creepy and I *think* there's a supernatural twist?

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I finished this yesterday and.... excuse me while I go curl up in a corner and DIE. Everything I've come to expect from Hodkin; creepiness, nail-biting suspense, WTFery, shocking surprise and good god, Noah Shaw. *drops to knees and worships*

What goodies have the owls delivered to you this week?
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