Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: 29/6/11


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine! Each week, bloggers spotlight what upcoming release they're eager for.

My pick this week: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
Released July 12th

Summary from Goodreads:
In Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, inForever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.


Why I want to read this: I really enjoyed the first two books and am so excited to finally witness the conclusion! It's been a wild journey and I'm not too sure how it will end! But I do know that I'll be sad to see Sam and Grace go because they were a great couple. The adorable Samwolf will be missed dearly ;)

What are you waiting on this week?

P.S. Why is the summary so vague? *on edge* Oh, what to expect?!

Review: The Girl In The Steel Corset




Title: The Girl In The Steel Corset 
Author: Kady Cross
Series: Steampunk Chronicles #1
Publisher: Harlequin
Published: May 24th 2011
Source: Net Galley

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her. When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch…. Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret. Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in. But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on—even if it seems no one believes her.


*Sorry guys, Blogger auto-posted this. I completely forgot I had set this since it was done so long ago. The review was posted before it was completely ready so apologies! Oh, how embarrassing.*

The Girl In The Steel Corset is the second steampunk novel I've read, the first being Clockwork Angel, which I loved.
Steampunk: A genre of science fiction set in Victorian times when steam was the main source of machine power
I've heard the term used a lot but up until now, haven't had a clear idea of what it was so if you were like me, there you go. I think I can officially call myself a steampunk fan now. The two books that I've read so far from the genre….instantaneous love. 

As the summary states, the novel begins with a young Finley Jayne having an altercation with Lord Felix, her boss's son who has a history of taking advantage of the female workers. Instead of running like a normal girl would, a dark force inside of Finley encourages her to hurt him, to kill him. Somehow, she calms this urge and flees, running, very literally, into Griffin King who's riding by on his velocycle. He takes her back to his house and nurtures her back to health. There, Finley meets his friends, all of whom have a special talent, and together the group find love, defeat bad guys and learn more about themselves than they ever dreamed of.

The Girl In The Steel Corset has a enchanting and intricately-woven plot. The writing is very descriptive but it only pull the reader deeper into the world. I truly felt that I was in the Victorian era, not only from the dialogue but from the mannerisms and narration style as well. It's told in the third person point of view so we're able to follow the stories of every single character, which I loved! Each has an interesting story that is spotlighted and that I want to explore further. There is great characterisation so by the end of the book, you'll know and love the whole group, guaranteed. While he isn't part of Griffin's group, Jack Dandy is a main character who surprisingly becomes smitten with our little Finley. She sees the criminal as just a friend but does trust and care for him…somewhat. I'm very excited to see where this relationship goes in the next few books. It's no typical love triangle, that's for sure! While I did predict the twists in the novel, the characters and writing style still make this novel an easy favourite. 

I think everyone should go out and buy this book. It is just brilliant and will have you engrossed within seconds. The characters are developed so well and the plot is kept interesting throughout. The way machines are written about in this novel is fascinating - it's all part of the steampunk lure. If you haven't ventured into this genre before, do so now. This gem should not be missed by anyone! I will be eagerly awaiting more from Kady Cross and definitely won't be stalking the Harlequin office……………



Find Kady on Goodreads, Twitter and her website.
Buy The Girl In The Steel Corset on Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble and Borders.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Team Griffin or Team Jack? ;)



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cover Reveal: Hallowed


We've finally been graced with the cover of Hallowed! I'm so excited for this book it's not funny. I thought Unearthly was fantastic (my review) so I'm hoping the sequel is just as earth-shattering!

I don't really know what to say about the cover. Unlike the first novel, the single colour does make it look a tiny bit washed out. I know that people said that about Unearthly but I actually liked that one because of the nice light and shade. Yes? No? I think I'll have to wait to see the actual book since they always look better in reality!

I'm really excited to see the international versions of this book. I still haven't bought Unearthly, largely because I'm waiting to see which cover set I'm going to get. Tough decisions! They must match ;)


When I saw the Australian version (left), I didn't buy it because I wanted the American version (middle). The more I think about it, the more I like the Australian cover! The UK cover is quite nice also.


Summary from Goodreads:
For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

What do you think of the new cover? Do you think it's as a nice as the first? Which Unearthly cover is your favourite?

Giveaway: Inside Out & Outside In

Hi gorgeous people! I've got two Maria Snyder ARCs to give away so come get them! I love these Australian covers and I'd choose them over the American but Maria's signed the latter to my name so I've got to keep them! Oh well, hopefully you all enjoy these gorgeous books ;)


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INTERNATIONAL
Ends 23rd July
Please read giveaway policy


Many extra entries are available in the form!

Tweet: Win Inside Out and Outside by Maria V Snyder (ends 23rd July, Intl) http://bit.ly/lN5dWk @mssammydean

Check out my reviews of Inside Out and Outside In



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Review: Outside In


Title: Outside In
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: Insiders #2
Publisher: Harlequin
Published: March 1st 2011
Source: Harlequin Australia 

Me? A Leader? Okay, I did prove that there's more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion - between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we're free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again - while still touching base with Riley, of course. He's the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there's outside and then there is Outside. And something from Outside wants In.

After the cliffhanger from the first book, what could Snyder possibly write to shock us? In the sequel to Inside Out, Trella and the Force of Sheep find themselves trying to govern Inside. She hopes that things will now be peaceful so that she can finally be able to spend some quality time with her hunk, Riley. Who knew it would be so difficult? The Uppers refuse to work below, and the Scrubs rebel because the Uppers "sit around and do nothing". As a result of still existing prejudices, the society is simply one big cluster of misunderstandings and frustration. Trella doesn't voice her valuable opinions to the committee because she doubts her abilities and this ultimately leads to disasters of epic proportions. Bombs, death threats, sabotages and betrayals……looks like things aren't so cosy in Inside.

I found Outside In to be very enjoyable. Like the previous novel, there is a lot of focus on the plot, which is exciting and completely unpredictable. Our theories about what will happen are overthrown and squished many many times. Just when you think you've got it figured out, Snyder throws a curve ball and sends you in a completely different direction. I must say, this novel will break your Frustration Meter...most likely within the first few chapters. Perhaps you'll break your television or kick your neighbour? Yes, it's that bad. I absolutely love this author and what she can do with her characters. She lets us experience many strong emotions and is able to create a complex web of stories within a short amount of time.

Trella is still a fantastic protagonist. While things aren't going the way she had hoped, she still remains strong, determined, brave and proactive, taking the lead in trying to find a solution and somehow retaining her wittiness amidst the crazy. In her mission to save everyone from the Outsiders, Trella does act a little recklessly but it only further shows how she's good-hearted and selfless.
The romance between Trella and Riley was sweet, as always, though their relationship did hit the rocks for a short period of time. It was heartbreaking and totally irrational to be worrying about something so trivial during such dire times, but that's what Maria's writing does to you. *sighs* There were a few sexy scenes in this book (can I get some cheers for shower and couch gropes?) and let's just say that they can most definitely be reread many times over. *fans self*

These Outsiders are not aliens, if that's what you're thinking, but I still found them terrifying. A lot of tension and fear surrounds the Outsiders' scenes and the action is always intense. I found myself flipping through the pages at a lightning speed, racing to find out the conclusion. The ending was so satisfying, but I will not give up hope for a third book! I will hunt down Maria to get some more because after this difficult journey, Triley deserve some couple time.

If you enjoy drama, mystery, action and romance then this book's for you! There is a lot of focus on relationships - old and new - but it doesn't bog down the rest of the novel. You'll be on the edge of your seat and pulling out your hair, trying to figure it all out! Maria Synder is a brilliant author who engages readers for the entirety of her books and never fails to keep us on our toes. I loved her insanely detailed writing and cannot wait to read her other series! They sound brilliant and I'm sure I'll love them just as much as I loved this ;)


Find Maria on Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Outside In on Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble and Borders.

Teaser Tuesday: 28/6/11


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

The rules are simple!
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 


Right now I'm reading Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres which, as you can see, has a gorgeous cover. The texture of the book cover is oddly rubbery and feels really nice? =| Enjoying it so far - here's your teaser!
"The same meal they'd had the night Joel ran away; the night they'd been put on probation; the night the warden had slapped the obedience patch to Retra's thigh. Then he'd placed electro-eyes around the house so that he could watch her family eat and dress and other private things."
Burn Bright is truly unique and I look forward to finishing it! I'm about halfway at the moment and will be checking out Marianne's wicked cool website that'll help me keep track of these characters...

What's your teaser this week? Do share! :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Review: Inside Out


Title: Inside Out
Author: Maria V Snyder
Series: Insiders #1
Publisher: Harlequin
Published: April 1st 2010
Source: Harlequin Australia

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

WARNING: Long review. Deal with it. It's too good not to gush about. *wink*

Inside Out reminds me of Across the Universe, but instead of being trapped in a spaceship the characters are in a big cube, sectioned off into four levels with 9 sectors each. (Click for diagrams) Snyder's attention to detail is obvious from the beginning and this is definitely one of those books that you have to really digest and understand before you move on. Dash off too quickly and you might find yourself confused later on and not get the full effect!

The concept behind Inside Out was fantastic. The place they live in is a confined space called Inside, which has a large network of vents and pipes. The main character is skilled in navigating them and she initially goes to the pipes to avoid the snide remarks from her peers, tired of their misconceptions about her. The novel revolves around an almost-adult Trella as a small mishap leads to her search for Gateway, the doorway to Outside which may or may not be real. They say that Outside is a spiritual place where you go after hard work and death. Trella's friends say that Outside is an actual place which can be accessed through Gateway, a tangible door somewhere in Inside. Trella risks it all to search for something which essentially may not even exist and suspense is high as we get closer to finding the truth. From the beginning, you wonder why they're stuck in this cube and how everyone got in there to begin with. Is it just a big building in the city? Down in the centre of the earth? Inside Out will keep your mind churning as you attempt to figure everything out. Good luck with that...

Trella is, plain and simple, a loner who is very stubborn and doesn't trust easily. It was difficult to relate to her standoffish and pessimistic character at first, but then you realise her motivations and slowly warm up to her as you watch her hard exterior chip away. Being manipulated by the rulers, she has warped views of the Uppers and doesn't fit in with those around her. She has a strong personality and isn't one to conform to the rules set for their society. The rulers are harsh and very strict, relentless in their mission to remain in control. No one knows exactly who is in charge but it's safe to say, they don't have may fans. Do something bad? Get sent to the Chomper. Even that doesn't sound nice.

The most adorable character comes in the form of a stuffed toy. His name is Sheepy and he's…you got it…a sheep! There's a mama Sheepy too and these toys will make even the hardest people melt into a puddle of goo. It's probably not the toys themselves but just what Riley, the love interest, does with them. They've been his since he was little and he's got fond memories ;)
Riley pressed his nose against the sheep’s as if communicating with the stuffed toy telepathically. He pursed his lips and nodded. “Sheepy says he’s hungry.” He quirked a smile at me. “Sorry. Oh…wait.” Once again, Riley stared at his toy. “Sheepy also says he doesn’t believe you’re a stupid scrub. In fact, he thinks you’re quite smart and if you say otherwise, he’ll bite you on the leg.”
Tell me that didn't make you smile. Not only is Sheepy adorable, but Riley too! He's a black-haired and blue-eyed Upper boy who meets Trella in a very unconventional way. She literally drops into his life through an air vent - cue massive giggle session. Riley's intelligent, determined and playful, as you can see. I thought the two made a great couple and I loved watching their relationship grow. It was  difficult because of the circumstances but still beyond cute with their teasing and sly glances! Now, where can I get my Team Riley shirt….

I would definitely recommend this novel to everyone. While there's some romance, there's a lot of mystery and action (big emphasis on the mystery). If you're sick of those same monotonous YA novels you need to read Inside Out immediately. There's something in it for everyone so I'm confident that there won't be any disappointed readers! This is a very engaging novel with twists and turns that promise zero boring moments.


Find Maria on Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Inside Out on Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble and Borders.

I'll be giving away my copy of Inside Out and Outside In soon once I post the second review so look out! ;)



One of the greatest book trailers I've seen ^^

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Guest Post: Linda Hawley

Today we're being joined by the lovely Linda Hawley for a guest post. She's the author of Dreams Unleashed, which is available now!


It’s the near-future year of 2015, where technology governs life.  In this dystopian world, governments control their citizens by tracking them with RFID.  The right to personal privacy does not exist.  The heroine, Ann Torgeson, having been trained by the CIA as a paranormal spy at nineteen years old, has enhanced abilities.  Twenty-five years later, she lives a double life:  first, as a technical writer for a tidal energy company in the Pacific Northwest, and second, as a member of the worldwide anti-government subversive organization, called GOG.  When Ann’s vivid dreams turn real, she questions whether the doorway between her subconscious and reality has been permanently altered.  When she starts to dig into her past, her present begins to unravel, leading the reader through events that twist and turn everything upside down.  Question everything you know is essential in this trilogy.

~x-x-x~

Dream-Builders vs. Dream-Squashers

Lisa opened up the chance for me to guest blog on any topic I wanted.  I’ve guest blogged for a number of book reviewers, but I thought I’d do something unique for all of you today.  I’d like to talk about your dreams.  “Huh?  You know about my dreams?” you might ask.  I’m talking about what you dreamt of doing/becoming when you were a child.  I’m talking about dreaming dreams for yourself…achieving your own dreams.

I believe that everyone has natural gifts and talents (yes, I said everyone).  These gifts come in all flavors, shapes, and sizes.  Additionally, we all have the ability to imagine.  Given no limits, what is one thing that you can imagine yourself doing or being?

When I was a young child, about five, I fell in love with words.  We had a large family and didn’t have much money, so the only way I could get books to read was through the Bookmobile that would drive through our neighborhood, lending books.  I think I read most of the books on that Bookmobile.  I especially liked the Nancy Drew books.  Then, when I was twelve years old, I had a terrible accident, and sustained a serious head injury.  Because of the damage to my brain, I had to re-learn English.  It took many many years for me to read well again, but ironically, I could still write.  So I started writing…all the time.  For me, these struggles fueled my great love for books, stories, and the written word.  I dreamed of being a writer, never letting that dream depart from me, even in the face of a great struggle.

Sometimes, there are dream-squashers in our lives, who like nothing more than to kill the things we imagine ourselves doing.  After my accident, I had lots of dream-squashers who were sure (because of the damage to my brain) that I would never achieve anything.  It seems that for every five dream-squashers in our lives, there is only one dream-builder.  But the power of that one dream-builder is bigger than the power of the dream-squashers.  I had a teacher in school (my psychology teacher) who had me keep a daily journal in class.  I quickly learned that he was my dream-builder.  Even though I struggled with spelling, sentence structure, and other written English rules (because of my accident), he told me I was a passionate writer.  So, my dream flourished, and the power of that one dream-builder sustained me.

I have this friend who I visit weekly.  She is not related to me, but she is my elderly friend.  When she was a child, she had Polio.  Because of it, she is in a wheelchair.  Since she was a child, she dreamed of ice-skating.  Because of the Polio, she was never able to, but she kept dreaming.  Her whole life she has watched ice-skating on television, and has enjoyed it thoroughly.  On Sundays, she wears a pin to church of a girl skating on ice.  Even though her body has limited her from some things, she’s never become discouraged.  She told me that when she gets to heaven, she’s going to be an ice skater.  She’s dreaming her dream, and I’m certain she will achieve it.

I believe that whatever it is that you want to do, become, or achieve, you can.  I believe in you. 

~x-x-x~ 

Thank you to Linda for such a fantastic guest post. Don't you feel all warm and fuzzy inside now?

Read a free sample of Dreams Unleashed at Amazon
Buy the ebook for $2.99 at Smashwords Amazon, Barnes & Noble 
Print copies are being published this week!
Visit Linda's website and her blog

“Ann is one of the most complex characters I’ve ever read….  The world is dystopian: the government is the evil Big Brother keeping people safe even against their will.  Yet, the characters aren’t depressed or desperate.  They try to live their normal lives which includes laughter, too.”
“The book really pushed me out of my comfort zone as I’ve never read any other book similar to this….  From the very beginning, the book kept me intrigued by its mystifying plot and excellent narration.  I must laud the author for her ability to write her story in the finest detail, which makes the story sound somewhat believable.  Everything was described superbly….  Overall, this novel is a real and pure page-turner.”
“It's like a present that you are slowly unwrapping layer by layer.”

Friday, June 24, 2011

Follow Friday/TGIF: 24/6/11

Yes! It's that time of the week again! I finished Half-Blood last night and absolutely LOVED it. Starting Bloodspell today! I recently reviewed Legacy and The Near Witch. Please check them out! All three I have read are big 5/5 stars!


This weekly event is hosted by Parajunkee. The featured blogger is Mickey at I'm A Book Shark.

What is your favorite fairy tale or story that revolves around the fae?

This week I'm going to have to go for a fairytale (Wicked Lovely & Iron Fey are to be read very soon!) seeing as I haven't read a great fairy novel yet. I'm quite fond of Beauty and the Beast! Such a beautiful story :)



Get involved with TGIF and check out other posts over at GReads!

Where is your ideal place to take a summer vacation and get lost in a book?

Well, definitely not Europe because I would not be sitting around reading for long! I was thinking more...relaxing beaches with warm sun, shade and breeze! We could add in the soothing sea noises too. Here's some visual aid.


So, let me know how your week went! Comment and let me know your favourite fairy tale and vacation spot :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Legacy


Title: Legacy
Author: Cayla Kluver
Series: Legacy #1
Publisher: Harlequin
Published: June 21st 2011
Source: Net Galley

The first boy disappeared on the day of his birth, on a night when the pale yellow moon of the nighttime sky turned red and bathed the heavens in the ghastly color of blood, on the same night the Kingdom of Cokyri abruptly ceased its merciless attack.
Across the land of Hytanica, under the shadow of the crimson moon, infant boys continued to vanish. Not until the blood had faded from the sky did the disappearances stop and the bodies of the murdered infants were found outside the gates of the city, a final word from the greatest enemy Hytanica had ever known. For the next sixteen years, peace reigned, but one mystery remained unsolved. The Cokyrians had abducted forty-nine newborns, but returned only forty-eight bodies.Now, as seventeen-year-old Princess Alera of Hytanica is besieged from all sides by suitors vying for the Throne, a teenage Cokyrian boy, Narian, is encountered within the walls of her Kingdom, a boy who will show Alera a world where women serve a purpose and not just a husband. As Narian helps Alera find her voice, she struggles against an arranged marriage that will shatter the life she has scarcely begun to live. And when Narian's shocking past is uncovered, and war with Cokyri looms once more, he must fight to defy a fate ordained at his birth.

Firstly, I just have to say that I am in awe of Cayla Kluver. I cannot believe she wrote this at such a young age. Goodness knows I wouldn't have been able to string together so many coherent sentences at fourteen! Legacy is a beautifully written novel that will keep you entertained until the very last word. The long length was a positive and I definitely would not have minded more.

So, who doesn't love a good royal romance? At seventeen, Princess Alera is on the hunt for a suitable husband. She must marry on her 18th birthday but no one seems to meet the requirements set by her father...none other than one Lord Steldor who is arrogant and completely unaware of Alera's disdain for him. Enter Narian, a potentially dangerous but sweet boy who immediately captures Alera's attention with his impeccable manners and skill. Too bad he can't be chosen as King. The romance between the two is full of sparks and longing. Narian treats her differently than anyone ever has and he shares with her his knowledge from Cokyri, the enemy kingdom in which he was raised as a soldier. Their attraction is so delightful yet devastating, as we know that they can't be together. But what I love is that she likes him for a reason. He's not just a badboy. He's not just pretty. THEY HAVE AN ACTUAL GENUINE CONNECTION. That's a big tick in my book!

The characters' backstories are not explored much in the novel but I still felt as if I knew each and every one of them by the end. I knew how they would react to certain situations and how the author has positioned me to respond to them. This goes for the minor characters as well. Their personalities just shined through and and you can't help but form some emotional attachment! Even though the females of that time are very different to the ones now because of changed social conventions and expectations, I was still very able to relate to the main character because of the way she was written. It's not completely comprehensible to me but somehow I still said "Okay, sure! Of course!" when Alera expresses her concerns about getting on a gross beast of a horse……because what lady does that, you know? I was so very easily pulled into this medieval world. I have decided that I want to stay, despite raging wars between kingdoms and mistreatment from men. I'll stay!!

The plotline about Narian's past and the two kingdoms does not come into play until the final third of the novel, but honestly, who cares? There is never a dull moment, even when Alera is simply admiring her pretty (and plentiful) dresses. Fighting off unwanted suitors, getting to know the mysterious new guy, running around uncovering secrets and enjoying the luxuries of being a princess? It's not possible to get bored. Despite what some may say, the young author has written a brilliant story set in a very three dimensional world. When you look carefully, it is just an "ordinary" story but somehow, it is magnificent - a definite favourite of mine! I truly hope that you all enjoy this book as much as I did. Make sure to put this and the sequels on your TBR lists!


Find Cayla on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website.
Buy Legacy on Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble and Borders.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: 22/6/11

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine! Each week, bloggers spotlight what upcoming release they're eager for.

My pick this week: Pure Red by 
Danielle Joseph
Released September 8th
 

Summary from Goodreads: 
Orange is for energy, pink means love, and I, Cassia Bernard, do solemnly swear to find pure red—my passion—this summer. Dad's raison d'ĂȘtre is art. When he's painting, no one can reach him, not even me.
I'm giving basketball a chance. But what I really want to score this summer is the adoration of Graham Hadley—a.k.a. Cutebutt. Then when Dad agrees to mentor Graham with his art project, all of Cutebutt's attention is on Dad—leaving me feeling as colorless as the Miami sky on a rainy day. But I'm not giving up just yet.
 
Why I want to read this: Does it not sound absolutely adorable? It sounds like a fun read with a little bit of emotional angst ;) Really want to meet this Cutebutt...don't you? It'll be a nice change from the books I've been reading lately so I'm looking forward to it!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Author Interview: Victoria Schwab + Giveaway

So I've got the lovely Victoria Schwab on my blog today for an interview! If you haven't read my review of The Near Witch, check it out now!


Welcome to Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me! We're so happy to have you.

Please tell us a little about yourself!
I'm a daydreamer.
Oh, that was a very little. Okay, I'm a daydreamer with a love of the way words fit together. I tell stories to the stripes on swimming pool floors. I suffer from wanderlust and the constant need to create. When I'm not writing it spills out of my pen into doodles, into cookies, into lists.

In 100 words or less, why should people read The Near Witch?
Silverstein says, "If you're a dreamer, come in," and I feel that way with my stories. People sometimes pick up books wanting specific things, and so I can't tell you if THE NEAR WITCH has what you're looking for, but if you can come in as a dreamer, an explorer, a reader, then please do :) I hope you like it.

You love fairytales and folklore. Which one is your favourite, now and as a child?
It's always been Little Red Riding Hood. It seems cliché, and maybe it is, but LRRH has been through several reincarnations. Its earliest versions were much much more a tale of witchcraft than wolves!

The Near Witch greatly deals with fear and what it compels people to do. Have you ever done anything out of fear that you've regretted?
I've not done things out of fear, and regretted that. NOT doing something because of fear is even worse than doing it, I think.

Is there anything in the final novel that was changed from your first draft?
Hahahahahahahaha. Oh dear. I want to say ONE paragraph of the first draft made it into the finished book. That's not an exaggeration.

You're 23 and already a published author. Did you always know you wanted to write?
I did. Not novels, mind you. I have this horrible problem I like to call A SHORT ATTENTION SPAN. I never thought I'd be capable of focusing on a novel long enough to, you know, WRITE IT. So I started in poetry, and some short format, some nonfiction and some fiction and some who knows what. But I was always, always creating. It wasn't until my sophomore year of college that I decided to even attempt a full-length book. The result was something Alice in Wonderland but even more oblique and existential. Thankfully, I tried again.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time, other than reading and writing?
Exercise is a HUGE part of my sanity. If I'm not writing or reading, I'm moving around. Sometimes I write or read WHILE moving around, but then I inevitably run into things.

Can you tell us two things about yourself that most people don't know?
Hmm, let's see...my grandmother had my future told before I was born, and every single thing so far has come to pass. Also, I care about people's opinions far more than I should, and far, far more than I will let on.

If you were to be stuck on a deserted island, what five things would you take? What would you already have with you?
My Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, a pair of sunglasses, tea, a pet, and a boat.

Can you tell us a little about your next project?
My next book is called THE ARCHIVED. It's kind of like Buffy meets The Shining but also with some kissing. That's about all I can say about it *right now* but believe me when I say I cannot wait to share more!!!

Your birthday's coming up in a few weeks. Any big plans?
Eep! SO OLD. Heh. I mean. So, to be totally honest, my birthdays have this awesome habit of being awesomely BAD. No matter what I devise, or others devise, things just go generally awry. So this year, especially with NW only a few weeks from release, I've decided to focus on SURVIVING my birthday sans catastrophe :)

So...you say you can bake some delicious cookies. Mind sharing?  
I actually love sharing cookies! I was overseas for a few months, which meant I couldn't bake for people, but normally I pop up on Twitter and ask if anyone wants a batch of cookies (see? so you should totally follow me if you don't already, for that reason alone).

Perfect writing environment? A coffee shop corner :)
Cats or dogs? ALL the animals. I have three dogs and two cats, and the only reason I don't have various little woodland creatures is because my family forced me to let them go.
Favourite book? So hard to pick. But Princess Bride and Graveyard Book are wayyy up there.
Favourite author? Toss up between Neil Gaiman and Laini Taylor.
Favourite book character? I could make lists, but Po from Graceling, Fire from Fire, and Peeta from Hunger Games are pretty high up.
Favourite TV show? Dexter. And Doctor Who.
Favourite food? Chocolate. And fruit. And bread. And diet coke.
Guilty pleasure? America's Next Top Model.
Most embarrassing moment? OH SO MANY. I endeavor to make a fool of myself at LEAST once a week. It's good for the constitution.

Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to let me interview you. I'll be keeping my eyes open for your future novels! *mwah*

Thank you so, so much for having me on the blog, Lisa!!! It was divine.

~x-x-x~

Isn't she a sweetheart? Love her! I am so excited to read The Archived. It sounds brilliant. *lets out fangirly sigh*

Find Victoria on TwitterGoodreads and her blog
Buy The Near Witch on AmazonThe Book DepositoryBarnes and Noble andBorders.

For anyone who cares, the story of how Victoria and I met:
I had just read The Near Witch and was in fangirl mode. I did a little squealing on Twitter and this mysterious @veschwab tweets me, saying how she's so happy I liked the book! So of course, I agree and do some more squealing. After tweeting a little with her and another blogger, I click on her bio only to see that she is Victoria….freaking….Schwab. THE AUTHOR. Would someone like to smack me on the head for not realising from the very beginning? I'm such a dork. Luckily, Victoria thought it was funny and all was forgotten after I promised to go back to treating her like a blogger again ;) She really is the sweetest so make sure you're following her!



Victoria's graciously donated a swag bag to giveaway! Signed bookmarks, buttons, etc. Snatch these up before I intercept and grab them for myself!

To enter, FILL IN THE FORM.

- Extra entries available!
- Open internationally
- Ends July 2nd
- Must follow via GFC

Review: The Near Witch


Title: The Near Witch
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Hyperion
Published: August 2nd 2011
Source: Net Galley

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. And there are no strangers in the town of Near. These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him. As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

The Near Witch left me breathless. It's a blend of mystery, drama and romance, set in a world where fairy tales can come true. I found the novel to be completely magical and enthralling, drawing me in immediately and keeping me mesmerised until the very last page. The writing was so beautiful and poetic, the words settling over me like a blanket and cocooning me in its allure. The vivid descriptions made it easy to visualise myself in the town of Near, experiencing the fear and frustration with all of the characters. The novel has an eerie and chilling tone throughout and is definitely one that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Lexi is in big trouble. Someone or something is luring children out from their bedrooms at night and they'll be lost forever if she doesn't figure out who is behind it soon. There's a new boy in town who's helping her but unfortunately, everyone else thinks different. Lexi lives with her mother and younger sister in the town of Near so her uncle, Otto, frequently visits as her father is dead. Otto is frustratingly stubborn, set in his beliefs that girls should not hunt and should be at home cooking and cleaning. He thinks that Lexi wanting to follow in her father's footsteps as a hunter and tracker is absurd, and doesn't understand why she would want to do such a thing. Otto becomes a crucial character in the novel, becoming the main cause of much heartbreak, fear and anger.

Lexi is a brilliant protagonist as she is courageous, intelligent and not afraid to stand up for what she believes in and wants. What she wants is the children safe…and Cole, the nameless boy she sees one night through her window. She gives him a name and the two embark on a terrifying adventure together, becoming drawn to each other in the process. Their relationship isn't particularly "romantic", but boy is it a good love story. It was developed perfectly at just the right pace, it made sense and wasn't instantaneous, the emotions between the two were realistic and the conflicts they faced were heart-wrenching, though they only strengthened the relationship more each time. Otto and other members of the community wanted someone to blame for the kidnappings. Who more convenient than a stranger? Their blatant disregard for the truth was atrocious, especially when you learnt that history was just repeating itself. People become desperate when in fear and as the book says, nothing good ever comes out of it.

There is plenty of action in the novel as Lexi and Cole race against the clock to save both him and the children. Tension is high with fear of the unknown, making the book impossible to put down. The novel ended so perfectly and satisfyingly, the climax and conclusion executed very well. There were no abrupt endings, no empty feelings of incompleteness. Just perfection. The Near Witch is a magnificent read that everyone needs to go out and buy on August 2nd. The story is mysterious, exciting and something you won't be forgetting anytime soon. This is Victoria's debut novel and her future work is guaranteed to be a hit!


Find Victoria on Twitter, Goodreads and her blog.
Buy The Near Witch on Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble and Borders.

Want to win some TNW swag? Read my interview with Victoria? Go here!

Teaser Tuesday & Top Ten Tuesday: Book Blogging


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

The rules are simple!
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 


So I'm reading Half Blood at the moment. Loving it so far and couldn't stop laughing! I was tweeting with Jennifer last night whilst reading and told her to slap me if I fell asleep because I was dead tired. Also poked fun at...
"I was going to make it—I had to make it. I’d be super-pissed in the afterlife if I died a virgin in this craphole."
If you want to be specific, I was telling Jen that I hoped Aiden (the hottie love interest) ends up doing something about it! ;) Fingers crossed! Half Blood is fantastic and I really hope this excellence continues on until the end!

~x-x-x~

This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week we're talking about the top ten things about being a book blogger! Tried my best not to repeat things but ten's hard ;) Here we go!

1. Getting to meet new people. Who knew there were so many friendly readers and bloggers floating around?

2. Finding out about new books! I would be completely unaware about new series if it weren't for blogging. Di..ver..gent? What on earth is that?! *gasps* Oh the horror.

3. Having access to the latest news and books! Would I be reading so many reviews or interviews without blogging? No way! Would I be given the amazing opportunity to read so many new books? HELL. NO.

4. Being able to express my opinions. It's always great to find people who agree (or even disagree) with you. Book discussions are honestly the best! I have no book friends in real life (how awful!) so this is a great release.

5. Having a reason to read 3 books a day when I can. Obviously I'd read this much anyway if I wanted to, but this is just extra incentive and motivation ;)

6. Being organised and in the know. I'm really fussy with sorting and information keeping. I feel better now about having a ton of files on my computer. The ebooks and blog stuff I have are…crazy sorted. FOR EXAMPLE - Books > To Read > Publishers > Net Galley > June. I can't have them all in one folder like a normal person can I? Oh, let's not mention the lists.... -_-

7. Getting into contact with authors. Would I have the guts to do it without blogging? Probably not. Would I feel like I had a good reason to? Nope. Whether it's via Twitter, email, interview or physical events… Love it.

8. Making it a job - a fun job. I don't think there's enough satisfaction in just reading. It feels so much more wholesome when you're really in the action, keeping up to date, participating in activities and actually doing it for/with other booklovers!

9. Being in a big community. We're all friends - readers, bloggers, authors, publishers - like one big awesome family. Lucky and grateful to be a part of it! :)

10. Uhh, extra entries on giveaways? Yeah, you can see that I can't think of #10 because I don't want to repeat myself. So let's just say that having a blog gets you a few more entries for giveaways sometimes LOL.

~x-x-x~

Whew! Tough question this week. Another other reasons you'd like to add? Have you gotten your paws on a precious copy of Half Blood yet? :) Let me know!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Musing Mondays & Cover Crazy: 20/6/11

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted over at Should Be Reading.

Do you like movies made from books? Which ones do you think have been done well — kept mostly to the plot of the book, etc?

I don't know that there's a book to movie adaptation that I really really like. Reading books first always ruin the movie because you notice the things that are different and that are missing. Twilight could have been better (though it's steadily improving...) and I Am Number Four was just a big two hour chunk of "ARE WE READING THE SAME BOOK?!"

I recently watched Water For Elephants and I loved that movie. I watched it at about 3am and couldn't bring myself to fall asleep. Just magical! I've yet to pick up the novel but fingers crossed it's just as good! Has anyone read it? What did you think?

My expectations for The Hunger Games and The Mortal Instruments are high. There must be a god that will look over production and make sure the movie is fantastic. Right? Harry Potter went pretty well, I guess ;)

~x-x-x~



Cover Crazy is a weekly meme hosted over at The Book Worms! The point of this meme is to admire the art and beauty of a book’s design. So get over there and share your loved covers!


Well I've got to share this cover. How gorgeous is the model? The background's very eerie and a little plain but then she just pops out and brightens it all up ;)

Summary from Goodreads:
They say every town has its secrets, but that doesn’t even begin to describe Whispering Pines. The townsfolk are a superstitious lot and the mystical disappearance of a local teen has everyone murmuring about a centuries old witch’s curse.
Sixteen-year-old Shiloh Ravenwolf is a heritage witch from the Broussard family, a family both destined and cursed. When she takes a summer job at Ravenhurst Manor, she discovers a ghost with an agenda. That’s where she meets the new town hottie, Trent Donovan, and immediately becomes spellbound by his charms. Yet she is determined to discover the connection between them before it’s too late.
Finally, Shiloh's met someone who is supercute and totally into her, but Trent may be the next victim on the supernatural hit list. And Shiloh is the only person with the power to save him. Complicated much?
It sucks to have a destiny, especially since Shiloh would rather spend her summer being a normal girl who worries about clothes and boys, not the supernatural. But she’s never been
normal and the stranger things become the more her own magical senses awaken.
With cryptic messages from a pesky wraith, she will begin to understand the mysterious significance of the strange mark branded on her wrist, and decide how much she's willing to sacrifice to protect the other teenagers in town. Unfortunately, for Shiloh, not all ghosts want help crossing over. Some want vengeance.


~x-x-x~

Are you looking forward to Bloodspell? What are your thoughts? 
Are you excited for the YA movies that will be out soon? Do you think they'll be done well? :)

Review: True Intentions + Kindle Giveaway


Author: Lisa Kuehne
Series: True Intention #1
Publisher: Noble Gateway Romance
Published: February 14th 2011
Source: Author

While living in Chicago, sixteen year old Ava O’Brian’s life was completely ordinary. An accident changes everything and the sequential move to Lake Arrowhead, California uncovers a dark secret and marks her for death by the most powerful immortal in existence, Satan. Ava finds herself falling for the one boy at her new school she shouldn't, Samuel Perry--her alluring, mysterious classmate, and definitely her biggest temptation. As the layers of betrayal begin to unfold, Ava must uncover everyone's true intentions in order to stay alive. The truth forces her to face the ultimate decision; What cost is she willing to pay for love? Who knew falling for the wrong guy could be so deadly?

When Ava O'Brian moves to California with her mother, never did she expect her life to be changed so drastically. During her first day at Rim of the World High School, Ava is stunned by the gorgeous Samuel Perry in her English class. Little does she know, Sam is very different from any boy she's ever met. He's dark and frightening, yet she can't help but fall under his spell. Quickly, she falls in love and together the two embark on a dangerous journey to keep her alive.

The idea of Satan having loyal followers that are on earth to encourage sin was fascinating. I love that Lisa put a spin on the usual "bad boy" that we see in young adult fiction but I wish he had continued to stay that way for longer! For the most part in the beginning, Sam and Ava dance around each other, fighting their fear of the other for two completely different reasons. Sam, mysterious and constantly angry, is curious about her but continues to push her away because he does not want to hurt her. When the two fall in love - quickly, might I add - Sam loses this touch of dangerous which is such a shame!

I do worry a little about what message this novel is sending to young readers. Ava is only sixteen and trustingly going to secluded places with guys she barely knows? Seems a bit dodgy to me! Her head-over-heels-in-love demeanor is at times irritating but luckily her character is quite hilarious and endearing. She's got the snark of a typical teenager which was nice to see!

The novel switches points of view, going from first person (Ava) to third person (everyone else). At first, I found Sam's narration to be a bit detached and strange as it was in the present tense. This problem later disappeared once the exposition ended and the plot came into play. Though I found Ava to be too accepting of Sam and blinded by his seeming perfection, I enjoyed the way their relationship developed. While not completely realistic, it was entertaining!

True Intentions is something I'd recommend to those who are looking for something a little new and unique. Sam's an alluring character, sexy with a dash of evil and playfulness. Who knows? Maybe you'll decide that you want to cross over to the darkside… ;)
Find Lisa on Twitter, Facebook and her website.
Buy True Intentions from Barnes and Noble


~x-x-x~

Want to be the owner of a brand new Kindle?

It's easy! Just go here and register with your name and email address. Lisa wants you to describe your first kiss in 500 words or less!

Entries will be accepted from now until July 31st but voting will only begin July 1st. Get in early since you'll have a better chance of winning ;) You and anyone else you know can go to the same place and vote. You will be able to log in and see how you're doing. One vote per person, please!

Winners will be announced August 3rd.
First place - New Kindle
Second place - Ebook of True Intentions

If you'd like to read about Lisa's first kiss *wolf whistles* head on over and read!
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