Fixing Deiliah by Sarah Ockler

Monday, January 31, 2011

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Publication date: December, 2010
Published by:  Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Description: 
Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart.
She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.
Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

My Review:-

Favourite Quote: "That thing in my chest lurches sideways and I take a deep breath, count to ten and bury it, way down deep."

If I had to use one word to describe this story it would be GORGEOUS.  From the writing to the characters to the plot, everything about this book is absolutely gorgeous.

Fixing Delilah is a story of a mother and a daughter who are lost from each other and a family that is hiding secrets.  It it a story about finding yourself and reconnecting with the ones you love.

I have been dying to read this as I love Twenty Boy Summer and I knew that I could count on another book full of alluring writing and I wasn't disappointed.  Again, I was stuck trying to pick just one quote as Ockler really has a way with words.   She has an eye for details, can captures emotions perfectly and has a way of making everything sound beautiful.   It is an emotional read but not quite to the same extent as Twenty Boy Summer which made me cry.
What drives this story is the characters.  Delilah is someone that I can understand.  She acts reckless and feels like she doesn't know who she is anymore.  She has a witty but always heartfelt voice.  She is character that grows and changes as the story goes on and it is wonderful to watch. 

There is also a distinctive and just as strong bunch of secondary characters that play an important part of the story especially Delilah's family.  And it was nice to read a story for a change that family was the main focus.

However the romance that is in the book is delicious.  Patrick is the boy next door, who can sing, plays guitar and works for his Dad's constructions business during the summer (which means a few swoon worthy shirtless scenes).   Patrick and Delilah had some really sweet and tender moments together (and some hot and steamy moments too) like this:

"He lifts my chin until our eyes meet and his lips brush over mine, soft at first, dandelion seeds blown against my mouth like a wish, and then....completely.  Hungry.  Suffocating and desperate and I don't want it to stop.  I've never been kissed liked this before - not by Finn or the celebrity crushes in my head.  Not even in my craziest dreams."

Overall, Fixing Delilah is another outstanding story from one of my favourite writers.

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

Recommend for fans of:  Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

For More Info: Sarah Ockler's website

For More Reviews: The Reading Housewifes of Indiana and The Tales of Compendium

Pretty in Pink - Aussie Covers

Saturday, January 29, 2011

If you are new to my blog, I like to do a feature every now and then on Aussie book covers to help promote all the great books we have hiding down here.  The following covers all have the same theme - a touch of pink!
Pink by Lili Wilkinson
The Year Nick McGowan Came To Stay by Rebecca Sparrow
Beyond Evie by Rebecca Burton
Scatterheart by Lili Wilkinson

My favourite cover is Muse by Rebecca Lim.  I love the shades of pink that flows into purple, the artwork and the font type on the title and the light in the photograph.

Which is your favourite?

The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick

Friday, January 28, 2011

Goodreads Description:
I'm not proud.
I'm sixteen, and soon to be homeless. 

Weary of his life with his alcoholic, abusive father, sixteen-year-old Billy packs a few belongings and hits the road, hoping for something better than what he left behind. He finds a home in an abandoned freight train outside a small town, where he falls in love with rich, restless Caitlin and befriends a fellow train resident, "Old Bill," who slowly reveals a tragic past. When Billy is given a gift that changes everything, he learns not only to how forge his own path in life, but the real meaning of family.

My Review:

Favourite Quote: "I'd go off alone, because you can't trust those who want to break the rules and you certainly can't trust those who make the rules, so you do the only thing possible, you avoid the rules."

Wow, I loved The Simple Gift. It is beautiful, touching and potent.

First off, The Simple Gift is written in verse. There is something about verse novels that resonates with me. Maybe because as a teen I often wrote my diaries in verse. I find sometimes simple words can capture so much emotion and this book is the perfect example of that.

The storyline deals with some compelling issues: friendship, love, living on the street, grief and family. Despite the hard issues it deals with this book made me feel happy and hopeful. The characters Bill, Old Bill and Caitlin creep into your heart and stay there. Maybe that is because when you reading this book it is like you are sharing the characters feelings.

There really are no words to describe how this story made me feel but I can tell you this is one of those books that I will keep forever.

Since, I am stuck for words how to describe my thoughts and I also because I love the writing, here is a favourite passage of mine:-
(from pg 127)

It was like falling headlong
into the clear waters
of the Bendarat River
and opening my eyes
to the beautiful
phosphorescent bubbles of light
and trying to capture those bubbles
in the new world of quiet and calm
that carried me along, breathless,
and too late, or too early,I surfaced
and broke the gentle tide,
and I gasped and rolled
and wished Caitlin and I
could return to the hush
of that special world
and we could float
safe for a lifetime
and hoping never
to be found.

Overall, The Simple Gift is a powerful story that will linger in your thoughts long after you have read it.

Recommend for:  Fans of verse novels 

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

Note:  This is an Australian title that is available internationally through The Book Depository.

This week all reviews and posts have been about Aussie titles in celebration of Australia Day.   I hope you are enjoyed it so far!

My Book Boyfriend #2

Wednesday, January 26, 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.

Name: Ryan (from Raw Blue)
Age: 26
Interests: Surfing

"The air around him is snap frozen.  He in his mid-twenties, his face so shut off and wary I wonder what's happened to him."

Ryan 'mate' is a the nicest (and sexiest) guy.  He is a former bad boy who is now on the the right path.  What I liked about him was that he wasn’t letting his past dictate his future and that he never gave up on Carly when a lot of guys would have said it too hard.

"I bury my face in my hands.  And then Ryan does such a nice thing.  He wraps his arms around my shoulder and pulls me against him.  I can feel his body heat through his cotton T-Shirt, and directly in front of me are the worn, faded knees of his cotton jeans.  But most of all, I can smell him.  And he smells sandy-warm, like a beach."

Ryan is from one of my favourite books Raw Blue by Kristy Eagar.  He plays Carly's love interest.  See my review here.  I picked Taylor Kitsch as my Ryan because he is absolutely gorgeous.

"He doesn't tell me.  He place his beer on the table beside him, reaches across for mine and puts it down too. 'Come here.'"

"He exhales, then leans forward, reaching under the table to hold my knee.  'I didn't mean it like that.  I want to be here.  You know what I kept thinking about while I was away? When we went for a surf the morning after - how I felt coming back up the beach with you afterwards.  I was just thinking, How good is this?'''

Ryan is probably not a well known character as Raw Blue is an Aussie title.  So I was wondering who are some of your favourite literary crushes that are less well known?  Who should I meet? 

A big thank you to Missie for hosting this meme!

GIVEAWAY WINNER - Aussie YA Reading Challenge

GIVEAWAY WINNER of the Sign Up for Aussie YA Reading Challenge

Today is Australia Day and also time to announce the winner of the first giveaway for the Aussie YA Reading Challenge for those of you who have signed up.

The winner is:

Linds @ Bibliophile Brouhaha

I will be contacting you shortly by email. 
Thank you to all of you who have signed up so far.  Don't forgot to link up your January and February reviews for a chance to win another Aussie book.

Waiting on Wednesday #12

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Expected publication date: February, 2011
Published by: Allen and Unwin

The boy sat in the branches of the fifth tree on the left, his scuffed boots dangling. Leah turned her eyes up. His face was heavily freckled, his eyes large, brown and almond-shaped. His hair stuck out at wild angles. 'Hello,' she said.

Sixteen-year-old Carly is interviewing Leah Cartwright for her local history project. But Leah resists, determined instead to tell her own story: that of a lonely child on an isolated farm, a girl whose only escape is into the world of books. And when Adam appears in the orchard Leah discovers a friend. A secret friend.

Leah draws Carly in with the magic of story - to her present, her past, her secrets, and her unique friendship with Adam.

Being Here is a beautifully told story about a girl whose rich imagination rescues her from a grim reality, and an unlikely boy who changes everything. A compelling novel about love, faith and consequences.

Why?  It sounds like a beautiful heartfelt story.  I am also really curious about Leah and Adam's relationship.  Plus it is an Aussie YA title!

What are you waiting on?

The Secret Year of Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Secret Year of Assignments/Finding Cassie Crazy
Publication date: Out Now

Told entirely through letters, diary entries, emails, and other writing, Moriarty's novel introduces us to Emily, Lydia, and Cassie -- all students at Ashbury High -- who begin writing to their Brookfield High counterparts through the schools' organized pen pal project. Readers learn quickly that each girl has her own writing style and that at two of the Brookfield boys (Seb and Charlie) seem to be smitten with Lydia and Emily. The only trouble is Cassie's pen pal, Matthew, a shady character who first sends her short, threatening letters and then becomes strangely sweet toward her. Nobody can figure out why Cassie keeps writing to him, but after she has a crushing meet-up with Matthew, Cassie discovers -- with the help of her friends and the Brookfield guys -- that he hasn't been honest about his identity. All could be ended there, but when Charlie helps take revenge and Brookfield High gets mysteriously vandalized, the group comes together to deliver justice and save the endangered pen pal project.

My Review:-

Favourite Quote: "I like the way you took that whole journey to Balmoral without looking at me once.  But all the time I felt like you were crinkling the corners of your eyes for me."

I ADORE this book.  The Secret Year of Assignments is smart, warm and irresistible funny!  This is the kind of book that makes you cheeks ache from smiling too much.

The Secret Year of Assignments is written in letters, diary entries, emails, notices, transcripts, summons and more.   It is not just one person story but rather three character  Emily, Lydia and Cassie.  Their English teacher starts a pen pal assignment with boys from the rival high school Brookfield.  And there the fun and rather crazy story begins. 

Jaclyn Moriarty writing is brilliant.   It's clever story is filled with humour and heart.  The plot is entertaining and fun but underneath it deals with some deeper issues.  And despite the fact this book is writing in mixed formats and various points of views, it was never confusing but rather effortless to read.

Now the character they are pretty amazing. Well crafted and fully alive.  Em, Lyd, Cassie, Seb and Charlie all of them likeable, quirky and interesting.  I think there friendship is what really makes them special.  They would do anything for each and you can't help but wish you were part of their gang.

Their is is some romance and it is sweet and real and filled with plenty of awww moments.  And the guys were definitely crush worthy characters especially Seb. 

You're not making sense.
I love your letters and I want you to keep writing them, if you want to.  But you can't kiss a girl made out of ink and paper.  Let's hang out together. Let's talk on the phone.
You have to realise that boys don't write.  Girls write. Boys don't.

Overall, The Secret Year of Assignments is wonderful story of friendships and a book that leaves you feeling good.  I am off now to squeeze into my favourites shelf.

Overall rating: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Cover: 3/5

Recommend for fans of:  Good Oil, The Dairy Queen, Six Impossible Things,

For More Rave Reviews:  Goodreads Chachic's Book Nook and Not Enough Bookshelves

For More Info: Jaclyn Moriarty website.

This Aussie book is available internationally from TBD and Amazon.  In Australia and UK it is know as Finding Cassie Crazy and elsewhere as The Secret Year of Assignments.  It has a few different covers - here are a couple:

Haven by Kirsti Cook

Friday, January 21, 2011

Haven by Kristi Cook
Expected release date: 22nd February, 2011
Published by Simon Pulse

Goodreads Description: - One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.

But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.

Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.

My Review:-

Hmmmmmm, I am not quite sure what to say about Haven. Have you ever read a book, while reading it enjoyed it but as soon as you finished completely forgotten about it? Well that is Haven for me. It was good but it just lack that something special to make it stand out from all the other the young adult paranormal romance reads.

The things I enjoyed :

- The mystery and all the hidden secrets.  I love trying to figure out every little secret and enjoyed being surprised when I was wrong.

- The writing is a style that reads easily and makes you want to keep turning the pages.  I couldn't believe how quickly the 400+ pages flew by.

- Haven had some unique elements to it's story.  Cook added some interesting twist to the paranormal element (which I won't say what it is, would hate to ruin the surprise).

- I love interesting chapter names and Haven had plenty with titles like 'Cue the creepy music' and 'Down the Rabbit Hole'.  It set a nice tone for what to come.

The not so good for me:

- Some scenes for me were too much like other books I have read before.  For example- being the new girl and walking into class where the mysterious guy that has ignored every other girl in school can't stop staring at you scene.  Authors I think it is time for a different meeting place.

- The character while I liked them they were forgettable.  They lacked something special.
- Aidan and Violet's romance was that instant, intense, deep can't live without you type of love.  It didn't work with the characters going constantly going back and forth.  One day they are together the next they are not.  I didn't understand how they could love each other so deeply yet not want to be together.

Despite it's flaws I think Haven will have a lot of fans and I think this series has potential.  I am certainly up for giving the second book in the series a go.

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

Recommend for fans of:  The Pace, Twilight, Evernight

Thank you to Simon Pulse for providing me with a copy.

For More Info: Kristi Cook's website.

For More Reviews: Goodreads

My Book Boyfriend #1

Thursday, January 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.

Name:  Thomas (Tom) Mackee
Age: 22  
Skills: plays guitar, can sing and writes his own music

I was first introduced to the character Thomas Mackee in Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta . He was a secondary character, one of Francesca's friend and was 17.  Something about his snarky troublemaker attitude grabbed my attention and my heart. Then Marchetta decide to write a whole book on Tom's life based 5 years later called The Piper's Son and after reading it I was crushing even harder.

What I love most about Tom is he is flawed and realistic - he isn't the perfect guy that doesn't exist in the real world.  He comes across as a bad boy but he is a good guy underneath.  Yes, sometimes he made me mad and certainly made plenty of mistakes but I loved that he is a character that grew and changed and learnt to put his feelings out there.  And every time he did I crushed big time.  Tom also makes me laugh which is a very attractive trait.

Some favourite quotes:

"Thomas Mackee on the dance floor is totally uninhibited and is hysterical to watch.  Despite his lanky slobbiness, he moves well.  He makes the most ridiculous faces as he twists, his mouth in an O shape and we're laughing so much our stomach hurt."  Saving Francesca

"I lean against a streetlight and throw up, just near his shoe. He looks down at the ground and then at me. 'The guacamole was a mistake' he says, matter-of-factly. For the second time that night he makes me laugh. 'Don't make me have to you like you,' I tell him." Saving Francesca

"She's tired and leans her head on his shoulder, which is the resting place for all their heads, but when Justine and Siobhan and Francesca use his body so shamelessly he doesn't feel the need to turn his head and press his mouth against their hair."  The Piper's Son

"Maybe she'd always been there. Maybe strangers enter your heart first and then you spent the rest of your life searching for them.  He doesn't say anything at all after that and nor does she .  But they stay on the line.  And there goes another week's wage, but he doesn't care."  The Piper's Son

Who is your literary crush? Is anyone else crushing on Thomas Mackee? 

I would like to say thank you to Missie for hosting this meme.  I swear I have a new literary crush each week, so this meme is perfect for me!

Talk To Me Tuesday #2

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Talk to Me Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by one of my favourite blog I Swim For Oceans where we will discuss anything (and everything) literary-related in an open forum of honesty.  If you are interesting in participating make sure to go I Swim For Oceans and link your post.

This weeks discussion is: Do you prefer reading books with a male MC or a female MC, and why?

Both, I really can't pick between them!  I find books with a female MC easier to relate with but at the same time I love getting inside a guy's head.  The most important thing for me is connecting with the character and finding them likeable, realistic and unforgettable.

The best thing about reading a book with a female MC is that it is easier to understand their actions as you generally have been in many of the same situations.  Some great female MCs:

                                              Meg                                    Carly

The only time I have a problem with a male MC is when it is written by a female author and it feels like what she thinks a male is thinking and not what a guy really thinks like.  Luckily that rarely happens.  My favourite part of a male POV is getting to see what they really think of us girls.  Some of my favourite male MCs are:

Colt                      Dan

But what I love most is dual narration.  When you get inside both character's minds.  When you get to see what the girl is thinking about the guy and guy about the girl in the same situation.  Some authors can really switch points of views seamlessly.  Some of my favourite dual narrations are:

                                            Ed and Lucy                    Alex and Brittany

So what about you - do you prefer female or male MC?

Thank you to Melissa at I Swim For Oceans for hosting this feature.

Chasing Boys by Karen Tayleur

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chasing Boys by Karen Tayleur
Publication date: Available Now

Goodreads Description - 
An insightful coming-of-age novel for girls with no interest in being “Pretty in Pink”.
El Marini just isn’t fitting into the new life she’s been forced to create without her dad. Her mom and sister have accepted his absence and moved on, but El is convinced things will get back to normal if she just keeps her feelings of loss to herself and waits it out.
Life at her new public school would have been unbearable if weren’t for Eric Callahan. As her crush grows to epic proportions, she’ll do anything to be more like the popular girls he notices, even buying the first pink top she’s ever owned. But then she meets Dylan, a quiet artistic-type who is both unnerving and annoying as he shines a light on El’s misguided attempts to attract Eric. El’s need for acceptance will hit home with teens as she finally sees that chasing boys has distracted her from making peace with the past and finding herself.

My Review:

Favourite Quote: "I feel like I can't feel anymore.  Like I'm walking and talking and sometimes even laughing, but inside I'm still and watching to see if I'm fooling anyone."

Chasing Boys is the tale of Ariel Marini who's life was turned upside down 18 months ago.  Her Dad has left, her mum, sister and her are struggling along, they have had to downside and Ariel has had to change schools where she has a crush on Eric, the guy at school every girl wants.  Her Mum makes her see a therapist once a week that she refuses to talk to and then there is Gatson, a guy she doesn't like at all but she can't stop thinking about.

Chasing Boys is a warm and funny story where the pages just seem to fly by.  Karen Tayleur writing style is just easy to read.  This book deals with family and moving on from the past more than romance despite the title.  It had some sad moments but overall it felt like a light read.  It is realistic but sometimes it lacked a little depth and things could have been more fleshed out.

Ariel aka El is a character you can empathise with.  She is like the average teenage trying to cope with all the changes going on in her life.  El has plenty of teenage angst moments and sometimes comes across a little selfish but overall she is witty and endearing character.

A favourite part of the story for me was the friendships El had with Margot and Desi.  It provided many humorous moments and certainly gave me flashbacks of my teens.   They had fights over things like boys and got jealous over other friendships but in the end were there when El needed them.

And then there is Gatson, an artistic trouble maker type but we all know underneath is secretly a nice guy.  The romance in this book starts from a place of dislike (on El's part).  So it is a lot of fun to watch it develop to something sweet. 

Overall, a good story about letting go and moving forward.  Karen Tayleur is definitely an author I excited to read more from. 
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Writing: 3.5/5
Plot: 3.5/5
Romance: 3.5/5
Cover: 3/5

For More Info: Visit Karen Tayleur's website.

Note: This is an Aussie title but is available internationally now.  It has a different cover as shown below.  Available through The Book Depository and Amazon and more.

In My Mail Box #12

Monday, January 17, 2011

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

This week I got quite a few books.  Might I add they arrived before the floods so I was lucky to have them why I waited for the water to go down.

Matched by Allie Condie -Dystopia novel that I am sure we have all heard of.
The Lost Saints by Bree Despain - 2nd book in Dark Divine series.
Angel by L.A. Weatherly - A story about angels where they are the bad guys.
Shadowspell by Jenna Black - 2nd book in the Faeriewalker series.

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler - Realistic fiction about family and love by one of my favourite authors.
Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney - Realistic fiction that deal with date rape and standing up for yourself.

Ordeal by T.K. Varenko (not pictured - ebook) A vampire verse novel.

What did you get in your mail box?

Aussie YA Reading Challenge - Jan/Feb reviews

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I am so excited that so many people have signed up for the challenge! 49 people so far.  Way more than I was expecting.  Thank you all and I hope you enjoy your Aussie reads.  I know that I am going to love reading all your reviews!
If you are interesting in signing up go hereIf you sign up by 25th January, 2011 there is a awesome prize thanks to Nomes at Inkcrush.  For more details on the prize check out the sign up post.  Remember though you can sign up at anytime!
This prize for January/February is $15(aus dollars) to spend on any Australian young adult book of your choice at The Book Depository.   Open to all participants that TBD ships.  (If you are participating and they don't ship to you please send me an email so I can see what I can work out in case you win).
A few things to remember before you link up:
  • In the linky tool please paste the direct link to your review. Reviews can be from your blog (or a guest post on a blog), Goodreads and Shelfari.  You can link up for each Aussie book you read and review in January and February.
  • The prize is only for those that are participating in the Aussie YA Reading Challenge 2011 and who complete a review by 28th  February, 2011.  Please make sure that you have officially signed up here before you link a review.
  • Winner will be selected at the 1st March, 2011 using
January and February Reviews 


Interview with Shirley Marr

Friday, January 14, 2011

Today, I am really happy to have the very talented Shirley Marr stopping by to answer a few questions.  Shirley's is the author of the amazing book Fury which was released in 2010.

1.Why YA?
I didn’t purposely set out to write YA. I had the basic story and theme and when you look at the concept of a wronged woman… it can sorta be told by anyone across a broad age group, in any genre for that matter of fact. I thought I was going to write an adult fiction. It’s only when I started writing and the narrator came to me that I realised how young the voice was! And because the first chapter was so much fun to write (seriously – who doesn’t like being a teen bitch) I knew I had to finish the whole novel like this.

Although mind you, Fury as an adult pirate fiction would be kinda awesome. 

2.  What were your inspirations for Fury?
I wanted to write something really angry and mad. I guess at that time all the books I were reading had really feminine and somewhat passive heroines and I just wanted to go against the grain and do something completely different. I wanted to write from the point of view of a villain and have it OTT dramatic. That sounded like fun. As you can tell, I only write stuff I really love. The theme “Fury” came to me first and I explored it from all the different angles – as an emotion and also as a personification – I looked at the Greek mythology of the three “Furies” – Goddesses of Vengeance. And it all fell really nicely into place!

3.  Eliza is an unforgettable character.  Describe her in three words.
Furious, Fearless and also quite Fabulous!
4.  In the first sentence of the book we find out Eliza is a murderer and from therefore she tells her story.  Was this always the plan or did you intend to tell the story a different way?
You know what, Fury went through four drafts with my editor Melissa Keil from black dog books and looking through all of them, huge changes happened in each one – but the one thing that has remained exactly the same is the opening sentence! Melissa loved the opener both in terms of impact and the place in the novel the story starts. I never considered telling the story any other way – I like a story actually that just admits from the onset what it’s about!

5. What was the most challenging part of writing Fury?
Having to change the ending for sure! I actually had an entire chapter that said a lot more and had more of a sense of resolution. Me and Melissa agreed that a quick and hanging ending would be much better. It just took me a while to get used to because in my head the story played out (and still does sometimes) the way I had originally planned. It was a hard decision to make, Melissa was a bit gutted to change it because Eliza does something funny and cute in the original ... but you have to sometimes Kill Your Darlings.

6. If Fury had a soundtrack name one song that would be on it?
“You Stole the Sun From My Heart” by the Manic Street Preachers (I think this answer might please Nomes from Inkcrush ‘cos Nomes used to love the MSP). For the line “But there’s no real truce with my Furies/You don’t have to believe me/I love you all the same”. I think that’s a song Neil would dedicate to Eliza.

7. What are some of your favourite Aussie YA titles?
I love “Letters From the Inside” and “So Much to Tell You” by John Marsden and “The Changeover” by Margaret Mahey because those are the ones I grew up with. I think I decided I definitely wanted to become a writer after reading Letters – in much the same way a kid listens to a particular album and decide they’re going to be a rock star. Recently I’ve been reading some great stuff by debut Aussies writers – Steph Bowe’s Girl Saves Boy and Rebecca James’ Beautiful Malice in particular.  

8.  What are you working on next? Can you tell us anything about it?
At the moment I am working on about three or four different projects! And I seriously have no idea which one is going to happen first! It’s like someone has finally let me officially into the dress up box known as the publishing world and there’s a billion outfits I want to try on – YA romance, YA comedy, middle grade fantasy, YA-Adult crossover. Yes. I said that right… I may attempt to write a YA romance. Please don’t laugh.

Thank you Shirley for answering my questions.  

Can't wait to see which project gets published first (crosses fingers for the YA romance ).  For more information on you can visit Shirley Marr's website.  Don't forget to check out my review for Fury as well.

Queensland Floods

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It is devastating.....

As some of you may be aware my hometown of Brisbane has been majorly affected by flooding.  Brisbane is the third biggest city in Australia.  Three quarters of my home state has now been declared a natural disaster zone (an area larger than Texas and California combined).  15 people have died so far and there are still scores of people missing.  Thousands of people homes and businesses have been destroyed.   It is absolutely heartbreaking.

My heart goes out to the those who have lost everything. 

I have received some lovely emails from you guys checking to see if I was okay.  Thank you for your concern.  My family and I are safe as we live a little out of town.  

(this is the street I use to live on years ago.  It is shopping centre was completely submerged under water)

And a big thank you to State Emergency crews, The Queensland Police Force and The Defence Force who are are out there saving people lives and searching for missing people.

A house after being hit by what they are calling the inland tsunami

If anyone is interested is donating please go to the Queensland Flood Appeal.

Waiting on Wednesday #11

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week the book I have picked has 2 different covers, so I thought I would share.  Both are gorgeous but I think I prefer the US as the UK reminds me of another book.

UK/AUS Cover
US Cover 

Expected Publication date: 21st June, 2011

Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

Why? Because I love Alyxandra Harvey's Drake Chronicles and look forward to more of her witty, fast paced and delicious writing.   And I like a good ghost story!

What are you waiting on?

Talk To Me Tuesday #1

Talk to Me Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by one of my favourite blog I Swim For Oceans where we will discuss anything (and everything) literary-related in an open forum of honesty.  If you are interesting in participating make sure to go I Swim For Oceans and link your post.

This weeks discussion is:  Do you prefer series or stand-alone novels...and why?

Well that depends on the genre.  When it comes to realistic fiction then it would have to be stand-alone novels.  Because they are generally more character driven novels and they tend to be a lot more of a emotional story (well the one's I pick are) so I need a ending.  I don't want to be waiting and worrying about my favourite character.  Some great examples of favourite stand-alone novels:

When it comes to paranormal/fantasy/dystopia genre, then series.  So much happens plot wise during these genres, that if they tried to wrap everything up it would seem too rushed.  And generally I want more of the plot and the amazing worlds that these authors create.  Although I am not a fan of a giant cliffhanger ending either but somehow I can handle it better.  I want the ending to be some what resolved but with a few unanswered questions that still leave you craving for more.  Some of my favourite series:

Do you prefer series or stand-alone?

Thank you to Melissa at I Swim For Oceans for hosting this meme. 

Out For Blood by Alyxandra Harvey

Monday, January 10, 2011

Goodreads Description - Hunter Wild is the youngest in a long line of elite vampire hunters, a legacy that is both a blessing and a curse at the secret Helios-Ra Academy, where she excels at just about everything. Thanks to her friendship with Kieran Black, Hunter receives a special invitation to attend the coronation of Helena Drake, and for the first time, she sees the difference between vampires that must be hunted and vampires that can become friends—or even more. When students at the academy fall victim to a mysterious illness, Hunter suspects they are under attack from within. She will need someone she can trust to help her save the future of Helios-Ra . . . help that shockingly comes in the form of Quinn Drake, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire. Who said senior year would be easy?
My Review:

Favourite Quote: "His fangs lengthened, but only a little.  I wouldn't even have noticed if I wasn't used to watching for things like that.  And it didn't make me nervous for some reason.  I wasn't scared, and not just because I had a purse full of small sharp weapons.  There was something between us suddenly, and it wasn't merely a secret unraveling."

I always have a blast reading The Drake Chronicles and Out for Blood is no exception.  There are certain elements that I require for a good vampire tale and this book ticks all the boxes - fast paced plot, action and adventure, witty dialogue and a delicious romance.

First of all this is not your average vampire tale.  It has such a unique concept with the Helios-Ra, the hounds, the Host, and the Hel-Blar.  In this installment Harvey focuses mostly on the Helio-Ra Academy where they train teenagers the skills to kill vampires.  While the writing is good and the plot captures your attention (I devoured it in one day), it is a tad bit predictable.  Don't get me wrong, there are some little surprises along the way but you know in the end the guy and the girl are going to up end together and of course save the day.  But I like it that way.  It is nice to have a series that doesn't need to end of a cliffhanger or with a break up. 

Each installment focuses on a different member of The Drake family (expect book one which had Solange and Nicholas Drake).  Out For Blood is Quinn Drake and Hunter Wild's story.  And let me tell you I have been waiting for Quinn's tale (I have been drooling over him since book 1).  Apart from being delicious, he has an energetic attitude and is a big flirt.   While Hunter is strong and fierce but a sweetheart.  Not only can she kick some butt but she is the type of girl who you would want to be friends with.   Quinn and Hunter relationship is filled with lots of flirting making for sizzling chemistry.  It also a lot of fun and it is nice change from all those intense paranormal romances.

We also get to visit some of our favourite couples and characters from the previous books.   I love getting a glimpse of what is going on in Lucy and Nicholas' lives.  I love their snarky but sweet banter toward each other. 

Overall, Out for Blood won't disappoint fans of this series.

Here are some other quotes I enjoyed:

"You are actually strutting", Nicholas muttered.
"Just a little.  It is good for the soul."

"Quit studying- we haven't even started classes yet.  Tell me about the Drake brothers.  Are they as yummy as everyone says?"
"Totally."  I didn't even have to think about that one.  "It was like being in a room full of Johnny Depps.  One of them even kind of dressed like a pirate."

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

Recommend for fans of:  Morganville Vampires Series and vampire action/romance.

For More Info: Alyxandra Harvey's website.

Note: Book 4 - Bleeding Hearts will have 3 POV's Connor (Quinn's twin) Christabel (Lucy's cousin) and also Lucy! So excited as I love Lucy and wherever Lucy is Nicholas is sure to be! They are my favourite couple.

In My Mail Box #11

Sunday, January 9, 2011

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


Fall for Anything by Courntey Summers - Thanks to Cass at Words on Paper.

For Review (all ebooks provided by S&S Galley Grab):

None.  Visiting my favourite bookstore this week!

What did you get in your mail box?
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