In My Mailbox #34

Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.


Torrent (River of Time #3) by Lisa Tawn Bergren - YA historical fiction.  I am so excited to have my hands on an early copy of the final installment.  I love this series, you should really read it.  Thanks to Lisa Tawn Bergren.

Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart - YA fantasy by debut Aussie author.  I have heard only awesome things about this so it is sitting right at the top of my reading stack.  Thanks to Random House Australia and Rhiannon Hart.

Days Like These by Alison Stewart - YA dystopia. This is also by an Australian author.  Thanks to Penguin Australia.


The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer - YA paranormal debut author of 2011.  I have already read this and didn't love it unfortunately.  Stayed tuned for a review.  Thanks to Alexa.


Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker - YA contemp.  This book has the most gorgeous cover and I love Lovestruck Summer also by Melissa Walker.

What did you get in your mailbox?

Book Review: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson
Published by: Orchard Books
Publication date: June, 2011
Source:  Thanks to Hachette Australia

Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.

Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right?

My Review:

Favourite Quote:  "I might not be ready to pour out my feelings to the world, but I’d had enough of trying to ignore them."

Wow! Ultraviolet is an incredibly original and hypnotic read.  I just loved how refreshingly different it was from the plot to the characters to even the style of writing.  Everything was unique and it that made for such a standout read.

Ultraviolet is the story of Alison who is placed in a psychiatric unit after complete breakdown.  She is also the main suspect in the murder case of  the most popular girl at school Tori.  But nobody knows what happened including Alison as there is no body.  All Alison can remember is one moment she was arguing with Tori then next thing she had disintegrated into thin air.   Is Alison going crazy? Or there an extraordinary answer for it all?

The plot pulls you in from the first page and you are completely hooked until the end.  It is filled with some very delicious unexpected twists.  I really thought I knew what was going on but I had no idea.  I love that Ultraviolet was not what I expected because it ended up being so much more.

R.J. Anderson writing is alluring and vividly descriptive especially when it came to describing Alison condition of synesthesia - tasting words, how each letter has a personality and a colour and in general just seeing so much more than the rest of us.  It was definitely interesting element to the story and made Alison an extraordinary character.

"Seconds shaded into minutes, and the butterflies in my stomach had turned into biting horseflies, when a candy-pink squeal of delight rippled down the corridor towards me."

Alison had an utterly convincing voice.  She had to deal with some hard situations - locked in a mental facility, possibly killing someone, thinking she might be going crazy but her reactions were always believable.     Now Faraday in a unforgettable character.  Smart, kind and surprising.  I only wish we had gotten more of him because I really enjoyed his presence in the story.

"Dark chocolate, poured over velvet: that was how his voice tasted. I wanted him to follow me around and narrate the rest of my life." 

As for the romance it definitely didn't feel like the typical young adult romantic situation.  It was that something special and yet it didn't take the focus away from the amazing plot.

Overall, Ultraviolet is a stunning out of the ordinary read.  I definitely recommend it to people looking for something different but yet still an exceptional story.  Now I just need to get my hands on more of R.J. Anderson's books.

Overall rating: 4.5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Romance: 4/5
Cover: 4/5

For more info:  Visit R.J. Anderson's website or Date a Book.

For more reviews: Midnight Garden and Chachic's Book Nook.

R.J. Anderson is going to write another book in this world.  It is called QUICKSILVER and will be released in 2013.  So far away but I am sure it will be worth the wait!

More winners....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Time to announce the winners of Heist Society and Uncommon Criminals
Congrats to:

Winner #1
Liz R.

Winner #2

(Each winner has 48 hours to reply to my email with their choice out of the two titles up for giveaway)

I had 91 entries totaling 653 points all up.  And I certainly had some interesting guesses as to what the W.W. in Hale's name stood for.  Some of my favourites included Wa Wa, Wonderbread, Waldo Wadley and Wamalamabangbang Wallaby.  But the most popular choice was William.   Now if only Ally Carter would tell us.

Thanks to everyone for entering.

Stayed tune for more giveaways in August!

My Book Boyfriend #25

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Book Boyfriend is hosted by the awesome blogger Missie at The Unread Reader.   What is My Book Boyfriend you might ask.  Well it is a weekly meme where we talk about a literary crush including stats, a picture of what you imagine he looks like and some quotes from him that make you swoon.  If you are interested in participating please check out Missie blog The Unread Reader.

This week's picks is:
from If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Adam is a singer, song writer, guitar playing, gorgeous guy.  He is intense and flawed but has a beautiful soul.

Adam lay down on my bed, stretching his arms above his head. His whole face was grinning-- eyes, nose, mouth.
"Play me," he said.
"I want you to play me like a cello."
I started to protest that this made no sense, but then I realized it made perfect sense. I went to my closet and grabbed one of my spare bows. "Take off your shirt," I said, my voice quavering.
Adam did. As thin as he was, he was surprisingly built. I could've spent twenty minutes starting at the contours and valleys of his chest. Be he wanted me closer. I wanted me closer.

I look at her there in the shadows of the shut-down city, her hair falling onto her face, and I can see her trying to figure out if I’ve lost it. And I have to fight the urge to take her by the shoulders and slam her against a shuttered building until we feel the vibrations ringing through both of us. Because I suddenly want to hear her bones rattle. I want to feel the softness of her flesh give, to hear her gasp as my hip bone jams into her. I want to yank her head back until her neck is exposed. I want to rip my hands through her hair until her breath is labored. I want to make her cry and then lick up the tears. And then I want to take my mouth to hers, to devour her alive, to transmit all the things she can’t understand.

I run my fingers along her neck, her jawline, and then cup her chin in my hand.  And stop.  We stand there for a moment, staring at each other, savoring it.  And then all at once, we slam together.  Mia's legs are off the ground, wrapped around my waist, her hands digging in my hair, my hands tangled in hers.  And our lips.  There isn't enough skin, enough spit, enough time, for the lost years that out lips are trying to make up for as they find each other. We kiss.

What do you think of Adam?
What is your favourite Adam moment?

Thanks to Missie for hosting this meme!

***This picture is especially for Missie and Audrey and anyone else who gets any ideas!

Book Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Glow (Sky Chasers #1) by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Published by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publication date: 29th September, 2011
Source: Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

My Review:

In one sentence: Glow is an out of this world love story that takes you on a fast paced thrill ride.

I know some of you are reading the synopsis thinking spaceships, sci-fi, that is so not your thing but Glow isn't just for sci-fi fans.  It definitely will appeal to fans of paranormal or dystopia reads with it's great blend of romance, adventure and suspense.  I know that with other sci-fi reads I have struggled with the world building but this is an effortless read that you become quickly absorbed in.

I loved that the action happened less than 50 pages in and from there on in it was a completely pulse pounding read.  Every page seemed to be full of excitement and suspense.  Although some events in the story seemed a little bit too convenient and hard to believe.  But despite that I think the plot and the world Ryan has created is the strength of this book.

Glow is told in two points of view, Waverly and Keiran.  I am a big fan of dual narration especially when it works well and flows seamlessly into each other and it definitely did in Glow.  Without it I think I would have been lost as Waverly and Keiran were apart for majority of the story and it really helped give you the complete picture of what was going on.

Waverly is a compelling character.  Mature, strong, a fighter and most importantly likeable.  I love that she doesn't give up easily and isn't afraid to ask the hard questions.

However with Keiran I struggled to get a real sense of who his is.  Don't get me wrong I enjoyed his point of view, it provided plenty of heart-stopping moments, but at times I felt his character was a little inconsistent.  I also felt this way about Seth another important character.  Sometimes they were nice honorable guys but the next minute they were being cruel and heartless.  This may have been just because of their world was falling apart around them but I felt a little confused.  I look forward to figuring them out in the next book.

Overall, Glow was a gripping and intense start to this series.  I can't wait to see what happens next.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Writing: 3.5/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Romance: 4/5
Cover: 4/5

For more info:  Visit Amy Kathleen Ryan's website.

Book Review: Cascade by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cascade (The River of Time Series #2) by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Publication date: 1st June, 2011
Published by: David C. Cook
Source: Bought

Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Sienna longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.
But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever.

My Review:

Favourite Quote:  We stood there for a moment, people swirling around us, laughing, greeting one another, kissing on both cheeks in Italian fashion.  And our deep stare into each other's eyes was as intense as a kiss of our own.  It was like he was speaking to me, singing to me, all through that long, silent, sexy-as-all-get-out look.

Cascade is awesome.  It is another brilliant and addictive addition to what is quickly becoming one of my favourite series.  It has the perfect mix of adventure and romance making for a fully satisfying read.

I am still surprised at how captivated I am by this series especially since it is definitely kind of historical which is just not my thing at all.  But that just goes to show how much of a incredible writer Lisa Tawn Bergren is.  Her writing just keeps you completely captivated in this stunning tale.

The plot is fast paced that has a level of tension that constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat.  Even more than the first instalment.  It was like I could not read this fast enough.

I love spending time with these character as they bring humour and heart to this tale.  Gabi is still the same strong heroine who's strenght and loyalty is inspiring.  Marcello would have to be one of the kindest characters out there.  And just when you think you couldn't possible swoon any harder for him you do.  Then you have Lia and Luca and their banter provides lots of entertainment.

"Lia aimed shifted and waited watching one man peek out time and time again. She let her arrow fly anticipating his next peek at us and it pierced his eye. 

“Okay that’s just going to make ’em mad ” I said. 

“Three hundred and ninety-two ” she said to Luca tossing her braid over her shoulder and taking aim again. 

“Saints in heaven ” he said to me rolling his eyes “how much deeper in love can I yet fall?

The romance was beautiful.  It made the romantic fool in me very very happy. Gabi and Marcello's relationship is sweet and tender.  They definitely have that out of ordinary dreamy type of love.

Overall, Cascade was a perfect reading escape.   It is passionate, meaningful and magical. The only problems is I need Torrent like right NOW!

Overall Rating: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Cover: 4/5

For more info:  Visit Lisa Tawn Bergren's website.

For more reviews:  Small Book Reviews, Tina's Book Reviews and Books With Bite.


And the winner is.....

The winner of an ebook copy of Gateway by Christina Garner is:

Andrea B.

Thanks to everyone for entering.

You can still enter the giveaways for 

In My Mailbox #34 - The Mountain of Books Edition

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

I received a massive amount of books and pretty much all on the same day squashed into my mailbox.  I am definitely one lucky gal this week!

Cargo by Jessica Au -Aussie contemp YA debut.  Described on the back cover as "heart-wrenching, beautiful and explosive".  This has jumped to top of my reading pile.  Thanks to Picador (Pan Macmillan Australia).
Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - Sequel to Raised by Wolves.  This is probably my favourite werewolves series.  This is coming out in August in Australia (already out in US) so I am excited to get an early copy.  Thanks to Quercus (Pan Macmillan Australia).
Original Sin by Lisa Descrochers - Sequel to Personal Demons.  YA paranormal about angels.  Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia.
In The Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane - YA paranormal.  Loving the different Aussie cover.  Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia.
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter - YA debut that is a fresh take on Greek mythology.  Already read this and it is fantastic.  Anybody notice that the Aussie cover is very similar to two other covers?  Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia.
Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder - YA dystopia novel.  I have heard amazing things about this series and Maria is coming to Australia soon so I need to get my read on.  Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia.
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder - YA fantasy that I am sure we all have heard off.  I have also heard there is a very swoon worthy romance in it.  Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia.

Dark Heart Forever by Lee Monroe -  YA paranormal.  Thanks to the Winter Flings competition.
Momentum by Saci Lloyd - YA dystopia.  Thanks to Winter Flings competition.
Forgotten by Cat Patrick - YA contemp.  I am so excited to win this after Missie's book boyfriend post.  Thanks to Lisa @ Badass Bookie.

The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan - YA paranormal.  Second book in the series.  This was a lovely surprise thanks to an amazing friend.

Intrinsical by Lani Woodland - YA ghost supernatural story.  Already finished this and it was awesome.  Thanks to Alexa.

What did you get in your mailbox?

Book Review: Everlasting by Alyson Noel

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Everlasting by Alyson Noel
Publication date: 1st July, 2011
Published by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Source: Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia

Everlasting is the sixth and final installment of the epic love story that has enchanted readers across the world. Ever and Damen have spent centuries facing down bitter rivals, jealous friends and their own worst fears-all in the hope of being together forever. Now in Everlasting, their destiny is finally within reach.

Will they be united-or torn apart forever? Readers will finally discover the truth in this anxiously awaited conclusion!

My Review:

Favourite Quote:  "The two of us refusing to look back, knowing it's better to look forward, toward the future, than to long for a past that's gone forever."

The Immortals series and I have certainly had our ups and downs but I have always been fascinated by this  spellbinding world Noel has created.  The concept of being immortal, spending centuries fighting for love is perfect for the romantic at heart which we all know I am.  And then you have magical Summerland and being able to manifest whatever your heart desired (like red tulips) and it adds a refreshing element to this story about out of the ordinary love.

One thing I like about Noel's writing is that plot is constantly full of surprises.  No other couple has had to work as hard for a happy ending then Ever and Damen.   They have had so many struggles that have provided many nail-biting-edge-of-my-seat moments.  While there was still a few completely unexpected twists in Everlasting it's pace felt a little slower or maybe that is because we know a happy ending is in sight.....or is it?

A lot of my difficulty with this series has been with the character but I felt you could really see how much Ever has grown in this final instalment.  In the earlier books she frustrated me with her decisions as I felt she would make mistake after mistake and never really learn from them.  But she is now making smart choices.  It makes me very happy to see her turn into a strong young women.  Now Damen, I felt he was a little disappointing.  I didn't feel he had quite the charm and confidence as usual and was a bit too brooding for my taste but I did like the way he will do anything to protect Ever and his unconditional love for her.

As for the romance between Ever and Damen it was very sweet.  However my favourite romantic scenes were the flashback of their moments together in previous centuries.  It was passionate and you could see the sparks flying.

Overall, fans of The Immortals are going to love Everlasting.  It is a perfect and surprising end to this popular series.

Overall Rating: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Plot: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Romance: 3/5
Cover: 4/5

For more info:  Visit The Immortals' website or Pan Macmillan Australia

For more reviews:  Book with Bites


My Book Boyfriend #24 - Doubly Delicious

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Book Boyfriend is hosted by the awesome blogger Missie at The Unread Reader.   What is My Book Boyfriend you might ask.  Well it is a weekly meme where we talk about a literary crush including stats, a picture of what you imagine he looks like and some quotes from him that make you swoon.  If you are interested in participating please check out Missie blog The Unread Reader.

This week's picks is brothers:
Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher from the Summer Series by Jenny Han


Conrad was the older one by a year and a half.  He was dark, dark, dark, dark.  Completely unattainable, unavailable.  He had a smirky kind of mouth, and I always found myself staring at it.  Smirky mouths make you want to kiss them, to smooth them out and kiss the smirkiness away.

Conrad is the older brother by a year and half.  He is the sexy, serious and slightly moody one out of the two.  He is the type of guy who tries to do what he thinks is best for others and rarely puts his feelings first. 

"Let's test it out," Conrad said, and he went and bought me another peach.  I ate that one in four bites.
"Was it as good?" he asked me.
"Yeah. It was."
Conrad reached out and wiped my chin with his shirt.  It was maybe the most intimate thing anyone had ever done to me.
I felt light headed, unsteady on my feet.
It was all in the way he looked at me, just those few seconds.

We kissed again, but it was different than the night before.  There was nothing slow or lazy about it.  The way he looked at me - urgent, wanting me, needing me.... it was like a drug.  It was want-want-want.  But it was me who was doing the wanting most of all.

He called out, "I still love you."
I froze.  And then slowly, I turned around to look at him.  "Don't say that ."
He took a step closer.  "I don't know if I'll ever get you out of my system, not completely.  I have...this feeling.  That you'll always be there.  Here." Conrad clawed at his heart and then dropped him hand.


Jeremiah, though - he was my friend.  He was nice to me.  He was the kind of boy who still hugged him mother, still wanted to hold her hand even when he was technically too old for it.  He wasn't embarrassed either. Jeremiah was too busy having fun to ever be embarrassed.

Jeremiah is the sweet one who brings you half a sub because he knows you were to busy to eat and leaves little love notes outside your door.

"I don't ever want to be without you.  Ever.  You are the only girl for me.  I've always know it. In this whole world, I will never love another girl the way I love you."

He kissed me, hard, and his skin was stubbly and rough against my cheek.  My first thought was, I guess he didn't have time to shave this morning, and then - I was kissing him back my fingers winding through his soft yellow hair and my eyes closed.  He kissed like he was drowning and I was air.  It was passionate, and desperate, and like nothing I have ever experienced before. 

We were dancing.  I had my arms around Jeremiah's neck and the music was pulsing around us.  I felt flushed and abuzz, from the dancing and the from the alcohol.  The room was packed with people, but when Jere looked at me, there was no one else.  Just me and him.

Have you read the Summer series?
Are you a Conrad or a Jeremiah girl?

Me, well as much as I love them both I am have always been more a Conrad fan.  Even though he drove me crazy with his moods there is something so sexy about him. 

Thanks to Missie for hosting this meme.

Mini Reviews #4

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers I thought this would not be my type of read.  It is historical christian fiction (not a huge fan of either) about the life of a woman who was sold as a child into prostitution and then later about the man who feel in love with  her.  This was just a beautiful and breathtaking read.  Oh boy did it my make my heart hurt.  I cried pretty much the whole way through this story.  Sarah (also know as Angel) is a character you become very quickly emotionally invested in and Michael is pretty much the perfect man.  I don't think you will find a character more forgiving and loving then him.   Overall,  this book deals with some intense issues but is worth the emotional journey it takes you on.  Rating: 4/5.

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr - Such a gorgeous story.  It was real, honest and a little heartbreaking.  Again some tears.  Zarr's writing is seamless. So simple yet powerful.  The characters Jenna and Cameron are well rounded and fully alive.  You really can empathise with them.  And the plot is realistic.  Overall a brilliant story.  Rating: 4.5/5

The Ex Games by Jennifer EcholsWhat a fun read. It has everything you need in a good romantic comedy escape.   Likeable characters, plenty of laugh out loud moments and some steamy kisses.  The kind of book you read in one sitting and grin the whole way through.   Highly recommend this book if you looking for an light and entertaining escape.  Rating: 3/5.

Book Review: Split by Swati Avasthi

Monday, July 18, 2011

Split by Swati Avasthi
Published by: Knopf Books
Publication date: March, 2010
Source: Borrowed

Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret.

He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret.

At least so far.

Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. First-time novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split—how do you begin to live again? Readers won’t be able to put this intense page-turner down.

My Review:

Favourite Quote:  It's weird when someone gets you understands what you would never say not even to yourself.

WOW! Split was such a hard read but I mean that in a good way. It broke my heart and made me cry (big fat tears) within the first 15 pages but I absolutely loved it!

Avasthi has written a remarkable and powerful story.  This book definitely took me on an  emotional rollcoaster ride.  One minute I am crying, then I am grinning, then I am getting angry.   I was completely and utterly invested in this story and the characters within the first chapter.  And that because Avasthi is a talented writer.

It would have to be the most realistic book that I have read about abuse and more so what happens after.   I could really could with connect with Jace and what happened too him as I had a similar experience when growing up.    Avasthi really explore this dark area with sensitivity and honesty.    I am still amazed at how true to life this book is especially when it came to the questions Jace asked.

I try to think of something to say.  Over the years I've collected questions after question, but I can't seem to find them now.  We're not ready for them, anyway, so I go for the easy ones. 

The characters just blew me away.   Jace is everything I look for in a character multi-layered and believable.   He is an intense, flawed yet charming soul that really captured my heart.   And then there is his brother Christian my heart went out too him too.  His story and struggles were just a strong as Jace's journey.

And despite the hard subject of the story it isn't all sadness and tears.  It still has moments that make you grin especially when it come to the new friendship Jace was forming with Mirriam, Christian girlfriend and Dakota, his co-worker.

Overall Split is INCREDIBLE.  It really is a standout read.  It is story that is  going to linger in my thoughts for a long time and will happily find a home on my favourite's shelf.

Overall Rating: 5/5  
Writing: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Romance: 4/5 (there is a little bit in there under it all but not a major part)
Cover: 4/5 - Love how the cover matches the story.

For more info:  Visit Swati Avasthi's website.

For more reviews:  holes In My Brain and Inkcrush

Shout-out:  A big thanks to Nomes for another awesome rec!

In My Mailbox #33

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

Ultraviolet by R J Anderson - YA paranormal supernatural - actually not quite sure.  Reading it a the moment and it is very unique.  Thanks to Hachette Australia.
Glow by Any Kathleen Ryan - YA sci-fi.   I am loving the Aussie cover.  Thanks to Pan Macmillian Australia.
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson - Amazing YA coming age road trip story.  Thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia.
Brother/Sister by Sean Olin - YA contemp.  On the back cover it is described as "It's Flowers in The Attic meets Natural Born Killers".  Thanks to Penguin Australia.

Bad Taste In Boys by Carrie Harris - YA debut zombie tale that has the prettiest cover I have ever seen and sounds like so much fun.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson - YA dystopia that I have been wanting for a while.  Thanks to Moonlight Reader.

What did you get in your mailbox?

Interview & Giveaway (International) with Christina Garner

Friday, July 15, 2011

Today I have Christina Garner the author of Gateway stopping by for an interview. I just recently read Gateway and really enjoyed it.  You can read my review here.      

Christina Garner began writing stories at the age of six. At eighteen, her aspirations as an actor had her loading up her Buick and setting off for Hollywood. Since then she has written and directed 10 short films, including Rewind and Reminder, both of which received acclaim on the festival circuit. In 2007 she was hired to write her first feature film. Her YA Urban Fantasy novel, Gateway, is now available. 

1.  What inspired you to write Gateway?
A fear years ago I watched a TV show on the Houska Castle in the Czech Republic which is rumored to be one of the "Gates of Hell." I have always been interested in the supernatural, and though I didn't want to write specifically about hell, I did like the idea of gateways to alternate dimensions, and who might guard them. When NanoWriMo rolled around a month or two later, I decided to explore the idea. 

2. Describe both Ember and Taren in 5 words or less.
Ember is a survivor, first and foremost. She's also mysterious and wounded. 
Taren is loyal, protective and has a strong sense of duty. 

3. What was the most challenging and also the most enjoyable part of writing Gateway?
They are one and the same: Creating a supernatural world, even one that overlays modern-day Los Angeles, is both challenging and freeing. Freeing because I get to research mythology and ancient civilizations (which I love) in order to pull together the elements that give the story context, and challenging because I need to keep track of every nuance that I've created so that I don't invalidate the world I've put forth. 

4.  There was quite a few unexpected surprises in Gateway.  When you started this story did you have a clear picture of what was going to happen or did it change in the writing process?
I'd say it was a combination of both. I knew how I wanted the story to begin and how I wanted it to end, but in my rewriting process I realized I needed to strengthen the characters' motivation. I did that by deepening their backstories and relationships with each other, which in turn created more tension and plot twists. 

5.  I loved the characters in Gateway.  If you could hang out with any fictional character for 24 hours who would it be and why? 
Wow, tough question! I could ruminate for hours, but I'll go with my first thought, which is Min, from the Robert Jordan series, Wheel of Time. I'd like to hang out in that world (Oh how I'd like to be an Aes Sedai!) and I think Min and I would get along--she's my kind of chick. 

6.  Are there going to be more books in the Gateway series? Can you tell us anything about the next book?
Yes, I'm working on Book 2 right now! The main story of Ember, Taren, and the fate of the Gateway will be told in three volumes, which I already have sketched out. Expect book 2 later this year. After that, I may explore the world through the eyes of some of the other characters as they deal with the aftermath. All I can tell you about Book 2 is that all hell (alternate dimensionally speaking) will break loose ;)

Thank you Christina for stopping by.  I am excited to hear that Gateway will be a 3 book series.

You can find out more Gateway at Christina Garner's website or buy a copy at amazon.

Thanks to Christina I have one copy of Gateway in ebook format for giveaway.  
- Open internationally.  
- All you have to do to enter is fill out this FORM.
- You can gain extra entries by tweeting.
- Giveaway ends at midnight 22nd July, 2011.
- Winner will be chosen by in accordance with my giveaway policy.

Good luck to everyone!

Book Review: Solid by Shelley Workinger

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Solid (Solid #1) by Shelley Workinger
Publication date:  July, 2010
Source:  Thanks to Shelley Workinger

Teens who discover they were secretly genetically altered before birth are brought together at a classified site where they forge new friendships, find love, develop "super-abilities," and even unearth a conspiracy.

Mini Review:

Solid was a fun and engaging read that I devoured in one sitting.

Workinger writing had a really great flow making it an effortless read from start to finish.   The plot had a familiar feeling yet it managed to still surprise me a couple of times.  The first half of the book had great pacing but the second half felt a little rushed and I would have liked it to be a little more detailed.  That being said it is only 220 pages so I think Workinger fitted in as much as she could in that small amount of pages.

The characters are instantly likeable and definitely will bring a smile to your face.  Clio, does feel like the average girl making her easy to relate too.  While the secondary characters were an entertaining bunch.   There is also some romance. But that is were I had a little trouble.  While I thought it was sweet I couldn't understand why Clio and Jack had a instant connection.   I would have like a little more build up.

Overall Solid was a good start to the series.  It definitely left me wanting to read more.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 3/5
Romance: 3/5
Cover: 2.5/5 - I like the purple on the black background.  It certainly makes you look twice.

***DON'T MISS OUT ON THIS AMAZING OFFER  If you buy a copy of Settling (Solid #2) in July you can get a free copy of Solid (kindle or PDF).  Visit Shelley Workinger website for more details.

For more reviews:  Musing of YA Reader

My Book Boyfriend #24

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Book Boyfriend is hosted by the awesome blogger Missie at The Unread Reader.   What is My Book Boyfriend you might ask.  Well it is a weekly meme where we talk about a literary crush including stats, a picture of what you imagine he looks like and some quotes from him that make you swoon.  If you are interested in participating please check out Missie blog The Unread Reader.

This week pick is:
Adrian Ivashkov from Vampire Academy Series and Bloodlines

We were wrapped close together now, and I titled my head to study him, the high cheekbones and artfully messy hair that made him so gorgeous.

(My gorgeous Adrian is delicious model Garett Neff)

He is quick witted guy, with gorgeous green eyes and a spirit user who can walk in dreams.  He can be extremely charming, a little bit cocky but also so sweet.  He might have some bad habits like smoking and drinking but for the right girl he would definitely quit.

It was with some surprise that I saw that the person waiting for me at the airport's exit was Adrian. A grin spread over my face, and I picked up the pace. I threw my arms around him, astonishing both of us.
"I have never been happier to see you in my life," I said.
He squeezed me tightly and then let me go, regarding me admiringly. "The dreams never do justice to real life, little dhampir. You look amazing."
"And you look . . ." I studied him. He was dressed as nicely as always. His dark brown hair had that crafted messiness he liked, but his face—ah, well. As I'd noted before, Simon had gotten a few good punches on him. One of Adrian's eyes was swollen and ringed with bruises.
Nonetheless, thinking about him and everything he'd done . . . Well, none of the flaws mattered.
" . . . Gorgeous."
"Liar," he said.
"Couldn't Lissa have healed that black eye away?"
"It's a badge of honor. Makes me seem manly."

"You've asked me out tons of times." 
"Not really. I've made inappropriate suggestions and frequently pushed for nudity. But I've never asked you out on a real date."

"Don't worry, little dhampir. You might be surrounded by clouds, but you'll always be like sunshine to me."

His lips were hot and eager against my throat, but he was careful to never once let his fangs brush my skin.  I was a little less gentle, surprising myself when I dug my nails into the bare skin of his back.  His lips moved lower, tracing the line of my collarbone....

 (Okay so my book boyfriend model has more muscles than Adrian but how could I not share this pic?)

What do you think of Adrian?

Thanks again to Missie for hosting this meme and giving me a reason to post shirtless pictures.

*** Just in case any of you get any ideas about claiming Adrian - MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE

Giveaway - Inside Out & Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Harlequin Teen imprint has finally arrived in Australia!  YAY!  They have just launched their Facebook page which is the perfect place to get exclusive information, enter giveaways, read reviews and and more.

Thanks to the super generous people at Harlequin Teen I have one copy of Inside Out , one copy of Outside In  both by Maria V. Snyder,  a signed poster and bookmarks to giveaway to one lucky winner.  All you have to do to enter is help spread the word by liking their new facebook page.

- This contest in only open to Australian residents (sorry international readers I will make it to you soon).
- Must LIKE Harlequin Teen new Facebook page.
- Must fill out this FORM.
- Ends 31st July, 2011.  Winner will be chosen by in accordance with my giveaway policy.

Good luck to everyone!

Also some exciting news - Maria V. Snyder is touring Australia in August!  Go to Harlequin Teen Facebook Page for more details and a chance to interview Maria  V. Synder and win an iPad2.

Book Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Monday, July 11, 2011

Published by: Egmont
Publication Date: 14th June, 2011
Source: Bought

One hour to rewrite the past . . .
 For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

My Review:

Favourite quote:  "Most of what I say is complete truth. My edit button is broken."

I was excited to read Hourglass.  I mean how could you not be with such an intriguing synopsis and gorgeous cover.  And while I ended up really enjoying Hourglass I did struggled at the beginning.

The start was a bit slow for me.  It lacked that something special that makes you get caught up in the story and care about what is happening.  But half way through things changed and there was action, plot twists and chemistry between the characters and I began to feel captivated by Hourglass.  And even though the concept of time travel is not unique this did feel like a fresh take on this supernatural element.

Emerson is an enjoyable protagonist.   She is brave, strong and quick witted character and is a stand outs in the sea of likeable YA lead females.  Then there is Michael, he is loyal, smart and gorgeous.  You know the typical leading man.  I liked him but he is kind of forgettable once you read the book.  There is nothing wrong with him I just didn't feel the swoon.

The secondary characters however are strong and distinctive.  I especially loved Kaleb (a lot more than Michael, no there is not a love triangle, well not really, okay only a little).  And the villain he would have to be one of the most surprising and fascinating characters in the story.

The romance was sweet.  Much like the rest of the book it took me a bit to warm up to it.  I got frustrated at the beginning because the characters had this instant-attraction-love thing but did this no whole we can't be together dance.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  And it didn't at the beginning. But as I got to know the characters better and understand the reasons behind their actions I ended up liking the romance.

Overall, despite my rocky start with Hourglass I did really enjoy it.  And will be definitely reading more of this series.

Overall Rating: 4/5 
Writing: 3.5/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Romance: 3.5/5
Cover: 4.5/5 - Cover is even more gorgeous in real life.

For more info:  Visit Myra McEntire's website.

For more reviews: Steph Su Reads or Goodreads.
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