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!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Review: Betrayal

Title: Betrayal
Author: Lee Nichols
Series: Haunting Emma #2
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Published: January 1st 2011
Source: Publisher for review

Emma Vaile is the most powerful ghostkeeper in centuries. Which is great for battling the wraith-master Neos and horrible for her social life. Emma knows fellow ghostkeeper Bennett Stern is her soul mate, but when ghostkeepers fall in love, the weaker one loses all power. And until Neos is defeated, Bennett and Emma can't risk it. When the temptation of being with Emma gets to be too much, Bennett disappears, pursuing a dangerous path to increase his powers. Heartbroken and alone, Emma tries to lose herself in school. But when the Knell, a secret ghostkeeping society, sends two new ghostkeepers to Echo Point—one a snarky teen guy, the other a British scholar—Emma throws herself into training to battle Neos. But as the team grows stronger, so do the ghosts. And worse, one of their own will betray them. One Emma never suspected...

My favourite thing about this series is how the Lee Nichols always manages to weave light-hearted humour in amongst the tense action and suspense. No longer is Emma having fun discovering her powers, but forced to train like a warrior in order to defeat Neos before he overthrows the Knell. As she visits the Knell HQ with Bennett, the two find themselves under a surprise attack and realise everything they've ever believed was false. Not only is the Knell unsafe from their enemies, but ghostkeeping powers are changing, with abilities being able to be used in reverse.

After Neos killed her friend and sort-of crush, Coby, Emma becomes the school outcast and is blamed for the golden boy's "suicide". If you loved his character in Deception, you'll be over the moon when you see him summoned as a ghost. He's impossibly better looking and even funnier than before! There's just something about being able to fly around and be cheeky all the time.. Along with Coby, Simon and Lukas are new additions to the cast from the Knell, the former acting as their strict trainer and guardian, and the latter as a loveable flirt. Lukas really takes cute to another level. His constant tongue-in-cheek humour will make you giggle and fall in love - I know he's my favourite character!
“Where?” Natalie said. Then she blurted, “Hey! Lukas!”
“Sorry, dude,” he apologized. “I thought you were a street sign.”
“Yeah? Well, it says, ‘No Groping.’ ”
 Now I felt like saying “bloody teenagers.
At the beginning of Betrayal, Emma and Bennett are the sweetest couple for miles but things begin falling apart after the attack at HQ. Even though Bennett is willing to give up his ghostkeeping powers to be with Emma, he decides to stay in New York with the Knell, refusing to be with her until they've killed Neos. It was heartbreaking to see them separated because Emma seems alone and lost in thought most of the time, dealing with all of her issues internally. I greatly missed the affection and banter she shared with Bennett, along with their easy closeness. But as the novel progresses, we learn shocking secrets about Bennett…ones that could ruin his life forever. You won't believe your eyes! How will they fix this?

Fans of Deception, you'll love the mystery and fast-paced action of this sequel. Neos plays the characters like puppets and Betrayal is one twist after another. It's got to stop some time, right?? Emma becomes an even stronger character, balancing her need to heal her friends' hearts, look after ghost Coby, save her relationship with Bennett, get into contact with her MIA family, kill Neos and bat away a mind-controlling siren! Her plate is overflowing yet she manages to keep her head and remain focused. With traitors and confusing riddles all around, expect another entertaining novel that will have you extremely excited for the third book!

Have you read this series? Are you a fan? :)

Find Lee on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Betrayal from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

Giveaway: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Happy 2012 everyone! Are we excited that we're in a brand new year? Does the day feel different? It should! Because 5 lucky winners will walk away with a pretty copy of Hallowed by Cynthia Hand very soon!

Clara Gardner knew that as a part angel she would one day have to fulfill her purpose, rescuing Christian from a forest fire...what she never considered was what might happen if she were to fail. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend Tucker, Clara must deal with the repercussions of what happened the day of the fire as the two boys vie for her heart. And, as she is drawn further into the world of angels and 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 after a shocking revelation, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning...

Australian residents only - thanks to Harper Collins Australia for the prizes!
5x Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Contest closes January 14th - winner contact details will be sent to publishers immediately

[+1] Follow via GFC
[+3] Comment on this post telling me why you want to read Hallowed
[+3] Leave a thoughtful comment on my review
[+2] Tweet: 5 copies of Hallowed by @CynthiaHand are up for grabs from @mssammydean!

Thanks for participating and good luck!
I guess this will be a belated Christmas present for five of you ;)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward To In 2012

Yes, it's the final day of this event! Today, we're listing our Top Ten Books We're Looking Forward To In 2012. Sounds tricky, doesn't it? Well, here's my attempt! What do you think?

Above by Leah Bobet
Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, her bee's wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above--like Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack Flash, who can shoot lightning from his fingers. But one terrifying night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of shadows, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few friends escape Above. As Matthew unravels the mystery of Safe's history and the shadows' attack, he realizes he must find a way to remake his home--not just for himself, but for Ariel, who needs him more than ever before.

Matthew sounds like an absolute darling and I love reading romances where the relationships already exist! Bees wings, hey? This sounds magical! <3

Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz
Finding your eternal soulmate - easy. Stopping a true-love-hungry evil - not so much… After breaking a centuries-old romantic curse, Emma Connor is (almost) glad to get back to normal problems.'s not easy dealing with the jealous cliques and gossip that rule her exclusive Upper East Side prep, even for a sixteen-year-old newbie witch. Having the most-wanted boy in school as her eternal soul mate sure helps ease the pain-especially since wealthy, rocker-hot Brendan Salinger is very good at staying irresistibly close.... But something dark and hungry is using Emma and Brendan's deepest fears to reveal damaging secrets and destroy their trust in each other. And Emma's crash course in ├╝ber-spells may not be enough to keep them safe…or to stop an inhuman force bent on making their unsuspected power its own.

I fell in love with Spellbound - really really hard. Brendan is so loveable and has such great chemistry with his soulmate, Emma. I can't wait to get back into the series again! When I finished Spellbound, I was devastated because it was a stand-alone at the time! Thanking all higher powers for letting Cara write more.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A. Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

This sounds like such a fabulous story - soulmates meeting on a plane? *heart flutters* I hope they kick the person out of 18B, or perhaps it's already empty? Go fate! Heard such good things about this. I'm ready for an epic romance, guys!

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

I'm actually really scared to read this LOL. Divergent was so good that I'm worried Insurgent won't live up to expectations. Will it be as heart-racing as the first book? Fingers crossed!

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer
Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn’t want. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water—just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death. And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca. Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

Are you kidding me? Four hot brothers with badass abilities? I'm so there! Love the mystery/action element of the book too! Hunter sounds like a little trouble maker....

The Selection by Keira Cass
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

A bunch of girls vying for the attention of a Prince? Love it! I can't wait to see how America's feelings for Aspen and Maxon change! Looking forward to seeing some fun competition... *grins*

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Emma and her friend Chloe are spending vacation in Florida. When Emma (literally) runs into a hot guy named Galen on the beach, little does she know he’s a prince of the Syrena. Galen and Emma both feel something strange – is it attraction? – and Galen suspects that Emma might well be the girl he’s heard of – a human who can communicate with fish. What follows is a deadly scene with a shark in which Galen witnesses Emma’s gifts. He must know more about her, and follows her back to New Jersey, and high school, to find out for sure if she’s the key to saving his kingdom. Soon, Emma can’t deny her feelings for him, but can’t explain them, either – and both she and Galen must learn more about where she comes from and what her powers are before they can trust one another and their feelings.

Hot Prince Galen plus a human with special gifts? Ah! So excited. Hopefully she IS the key to saving his kingdom and hopefully she doesn't have to make some horrible sacrifice for it to happen <3 

The Fine Art of Truth and Dare by Melissa Jensen
Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that's just fine by her. She's got her friends - the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She's got her art - and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it's hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they're dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl?

*coughs* Hot, popular French tutor? ..where can I get myself one? Sounds like this book will be filled with witty humour, reluctant romance and sweet lovin' ;) Itching to meet Alex!

Until I Die by Amy Plum
Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love. As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.  

I really enjoyed Die For Me - the characters were wonderful! Not even just Kate and Vincent but Vincent's other revenant buddies ;) I'm ready for more Jules! Sounds like things will be getting tough though. Losing your immortality when you're constantly "killing yourself" for others? Uh oh.

Undeadly by Michele Vail
Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts. Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with. To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly—against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally.

I think we have a winner on our hands! Molly sounds badass - like another Rose Hathaway. Zombies? Reapers? Academies? <3 Looks like Rath, Molly and Rick have one huuuge mess waiting for them! So excited to read this!

Ten is too less! *wails*
So many amazing sequels and debuts are coming out in 2012! There are so many more that I would've loved to include in this list but...I'd rather not wear out my brain just yet ;)

Are you excited for these fabulous new books too? Leave me your links!

 Also, some people are adding their reading stats to their posts today!
Well......this year I've posted up 129 reviews on the blog and have read over 140 books. I only began blogging in March and, even then, didn't begin seriously reading a lot until a few months after that. So I'd say it's been a pretty good year!
I'd love to say that I'm going to read 365 books in 2012 and it would be completely possible if next year wasn't going to be my most busiest ever! How did your 2011 reading go?

Review: Clockwork Prince

Title: Clockwork Prince
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices #2
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: December 6th 2011

The situation at the London Institute has never been more precarious. With Mortmain and his clockwork army still threatening, the Council wants to strip Charlotte of her power and hand the running of the Enclave over to the unscrupulous and power-hungry Benedict Lightwood. In the hope of saving Charlotte and the Institute, Will, Jem, and Tessa set out to unravel the secrets of Mortmain’s past—and discover unsettling Shadowhunter connections that hold the key not only to the enemy’s motivations, but also to the secret of Tessa’s identity. Tessa, already caught between the affections of Will and Jem, finds herself with another choice to make when she learns how the Shadowhunters helped make her a “monster.” Will she turn from them to her brother, Nate, who has been begging her to join him at Mortmain’s side? Where will her loyalties—and love—lie? Tessa alone can choose to save the Shadowhunters of London…or end them forever.

Once again, Cassandra Clare has written a novel that will make fans run screaming to the ends of the earth. Our favourite characters return to make our hearts sizzle and we finally get the answers we've been craving since the first book. Why is Will so nasty? What's his big dark secret? What can Tessa do for him and Jem, who's dying? As time runs out for Tessa and her friends to save the Shadowhunting world, brilliant secrets may very well uncover opportunities that will change their lives forever.

Clockwork Angel ended with Will asking Magnus for help, and their investigations continue throughout this book, providing lots of suspenseful tension. This secret has everything to do with why Will is how he is and as he begins ridding himself of his baggage, he opens up to Tessa and the possibility of a relationship between them becomes very real. Most readers will rejoice that they're finally coming together, but kind-hearted Jem will always be at the back of your mind. This love triangle is at its peak as both men prove themselves to be equally deserving and determined to win Tessa's heart. They both love her, they both fight for her, they both make strong promises and capture her in passionate embraces. By the end of the book, the bombshell will have dropped and decisions will have been made. The boys are unaware of each other's affections for Tessa and this leads to something that will change the game completely. Will everyone recover? How will things end in Clockwork Princess? Prepare for this book to leave your mind and heart battling!
"If I might make a suggestion," said Will. "About twenty paces behind us, in the Council room, is Benedict. If you'd like to go back in there and try kicking him, I recommend aiming upward and a bit to the left-"
On the other side of things, Charlotte's position as the head of the Enclave is threatened by Benedict Lightwood, and she'll be challenged unless she can find Mortmain's whereabouts in two weeks. As always, there are plenty of plot twists to keep you entertained, with characters changing their positions and motives constantly. Tessa's traitor brother, Nate, is deeply involved in the situation and begins abusing his hold over Jessamine. This exciting adventure will keep you on your toes and guessing until the very end! Some things you might see coming while others will come as a complete shock. Many little clues over the series begin adding up until we finally reach a horrifying realisation. We can only keep our fingers crossed for the villains not to win!

Overall, Clockwork Prince is an amazing book that's unbelievably better than the first. The characters (including many secondary) develop in ways you wouldn't believe and Mortmain's attacks become more desperate and vicious as the gang come closer and closer to thwarting his plans. Whether you're itching to solve the mystery, lose yourself in Will's beautiful blue eyes or faint at Jem's romantic gestures, this book is for you. My review really doesn't do the book justice so please just promise me you'll read it!
Who blew your mind? Will or Jem? Which trailer is your favourite? :)
"I have wanted to do this," he said, "every moment of every hour of every day that I have been with you since the day I met you. But you know that. You must know. Don't you?"
She looked up at him, her lips parted in bewilderment. "Know what?" she said, and Will, with a sigh of something like defeat, kissed her.
Her fingers wound tightly in his shirt, Tessa drew Jem down onto her, taking the weight of him onto her body with the feeling that she was being given back something that had belonged to her forever, a bit of her that she had missed without knowing she was missing it.

Find Cassandra on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Clockwork Prince from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top Ten Book Characters in 2011

Today I've chosen to list my Top Ten Female Book Characters. There are so many fantastic YA heroines, as well as those that just touch our hearts. As always, in no particular order......

Tris from Divergent by Veronica Roth
Starting off weak and somewhat sheltered, Tris shockingly chooses to enter Dauntless, the brave (aka dangerous) faction. She's determined and becomes the ultimate warrior, working hard to defeat her frightening competitors. Bet they didn't see that coming!

Rose from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Rose is possibly the most badass heroine there is. She goes through hell in the six books but manages to come out a winner. I have all kinds of respect for this girl! <3 So brave, loyal and compassionate!

June from Legend by Marie Lu
I love this character. She's a prodigy with nothing but success ahead of her, yet she chooses to risk it all and protect the boy she loves. When things get tough in the second half of the novel, she stands with her head held high, keeps her composure and concocts a smart little plan to rescue her man ;)

Juliette from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
She can kill people with her touch, but refuses to use her ability for evil. Even when being threatened by Warner (he's an honourable villain!) she remains firm and keeps saying NO. I love that she's so mentally strong and learns to go for what she wants too!

Pearl from Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst
As a vampire she was staked by a unicorn and turned nice. After the initial shock, she becomes the sweetest girl with the biggest heart but never loses her crazy sense of humour! <3 Really unique character.

Evie from Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Yet another hilarious character... Yes, sometimes she acts recklessly but always to protect those she cares about. Her hilarious one-liners and thought-trains never fail to put a smile on my face.

Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Everyone's read this series - do I need to even explain? She goes into the Hunger Games so her little sister doesn't have to, she sacrifices so many things for others and is all around a fab YA heroine. Jennifer Lawrence better do her justice, though I don't think there'll be any problems there from what I've seen in the trailer! :)

Cinder from Cinder by Marissa Meyer
This character is WIN. You'll fall in love with her on page one. She's a cyborg but feels everything a complete human does. She's very loyal and loving, and your heart will go out to her when she's being tortured by her evil stepmother. She definitely deserves her Prince Kai Charming.

Cammie from Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter
She's a teenage spy - one of the best, thanks to her retired CIA operative and Headmistress mother. I love seeing her go on missions and use her skills! She's so fun but also has the maturity of a professional <3 What's not to love?

Clary from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Ummm…expert Shadowhunter with mad rune-drawing skills? Enough said! Clary's had enough heartache to last a village haha. I'm glad her swoony boyfriend Jace is there to cuddle her at night.

Yes I had to throw in the classics! The list would feel a bit incomplete without them ;)

What did you think? Do you like these girls? Be sure to leave your links too! Interested to see which topics you chose for your lists today.

Review: Dearly Departed

Title: Dearly Departed
Author: Lia Habel
Series: Gone With the Respiration #1
Publisher: Random House Australia
Published: December 1st 2011
Source: Publishers for review / Christmas present from Dorothy <3

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie? The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses. But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

Set in 2195, New Victoria has modelled itself after the Old Victorian era, where social class systems and proper behaviour were fundamental. Combining that with their technological advances, people believe they have the best of both worlds and can prevent the actions that destroyed the previous one. Dearly Departed is filled with entertaining characters you'll quickly come to love, friendly zombies, mean zombies, rebel Punks, unexpected romances, strong warriors and more. It's dipped into a delicious vat of suspenseful mystery and you'll be racing to reach the end! Lia Habel's writing is beautiful and perfectly describes every single moment of this adventure.

After reading the synopsis, my first thought was "Human plus zombie…how does that work?". I never expected to fall so in love with this unconventional couple, but the strangeness quickly disappears and you'll be cheering them on! A lot of it comes down to Bram, the gentlemanly soldier who fell victim to a zombie attack two years ago. His humanity is very much intact and he adores the dark-haired beauty who captured his attention from the moment he laid eyes on her. When Nora is kidnapped, she's terrified of the man who towers over her and has cloudy white eyes, but as she gets to know him through her bedroom door, the ten locks on it slowly unlatch to let him in. Bram and Nora are perfect together, having found one another at the most unexpected time and place. Their trust and playful nature will touch your heart and your fingers will be crossed for a happy ending. Watch as Nora befriends this army of good zombies as they race against time to fight the bad ones!

Dearly Departed has five narrators. Yes, you read that correctly…five. While Nora and Bram are obviously the main ones, the other three provide a special insight into situations that are critical to the plot. First we have Pamela, Nora's best friend who's been desperately searching for her after her disappearance. She struggles under the pressure her family puts on her to marry a well-off man for the better of the family, but readers quickly realise it's just not her. She's a strong, determined character who's skilled in archery and has a big heart, and as the story progresses, we see her become a badass leader we can't help but love and respect! Captain Wolfe, the leader of Bram's army, and Victor, Nora's should-be-dead-but-now-zombie father, are the other two narrators and they drive the action side of the story. Sinister plans are at play and the world is about to go into chaos. Read the book to find out more!

In this unique world with its spine-tingling action, surprising humour, endearing romance and completely loveable characters, Dearly Departed is a very enjoyable read. Everyone will have their own favourite characters, but Nora and Bram will always shine the brightest for me, even though I do love Pamela and all of Bram's playful zombie friends! There's so much about the world, zombie technicalities and layers that I haven't explained in this review, but it's just something complex you must read. The characters are plentiful but you'll come to love them all (minus the evil ones) and be begging to see more! Habel has done wonders with this concept and I can't wait to hear her unique voice again (via multiple narrators) in the sequels. Give this stunning book a go and DON'T GIVE UP! The first few chapters might not reel you in immediately but continue - it's so worth it.

I'm a bit terrified to read the sequel. We're left with a bombshell in this book and… *nibbles nails* It's a tad bit worrying LOL.
Anyway…how gorgeous is this cover? I love it so much more than the US one. Thoughts? :)

Find Lia on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Dearly Departed from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top Ten Book Boyfriends of 2011

Today we're listing our Top Ten Book Boyfriends in 2011. Like day 1, these books can be published at any time, as long as you read them this year! As always, in no particular order...

Lend from Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
When a guy can shape-shift into whatever you want….not only is he super cute but super handy. Can you imagine the possibilities? You've got to love his charming personality too! *hugs him*

Jack from Everneath by Brodi Ashton
I just read this book a few hours ago…you will fall in love with Jack. Trust me. He and Nikki were the cutest then-couple on the planet. Their love rekindles (I kid, it never really left) and….you got it! STILL CUTE! <3

Adam from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
*coughs* No, it's not because of his earth-shattering good looks. Or his ability to wield a weapon and look good. Or his sexy stare or steamy kisses. Not at all. It's that stunning personality! Of course...

Dimitri & Adrian from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Am I cheating? Noooo. It's just cruel to choose. I've got a Dimitrian hybrid. I'll take Dimitri's strength and protectiveness, mix it with Adrian's sexy-but-nice-and-caring-badboy attitude… Voila!

Xavier from Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
He's too sweet with Beth. I think my teeth ached when he was so adorably cute LOL. Definitely someone to take home to meet the parents! ;) I'm sure if we stuck a pair of angel wings on him he'd fit right in...

Aiden from Half Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Do I even need to say it? Alex's hot instructor who's one of the best Sentinels alive. He's older. He's gorgeous. He's forbidden. He's completely loveable in that tough sort of way…? Let's not even mention Seth, the other corner of this love triangle, who brings out the best in him.. *smirks*

Kaito from Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Or…Prince Kai, as we like to call him. Doesn't he just SOUND wonderful? Add on his swoon-worthy caring side and his complete belief in doing the right thing….. *faints* He's very persistent too. Even when Cinder rejects him (BOO!) he just keeps coming back!

Adam from Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
I don't even know how to explain Adam. He and Megan have this crazy insane intense love and it just sends me to some heavenly place. He was untouchable, then Megan comes along and she's got him wrapped around her finger! <3

Perry from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
In every second review, I think there's always one line of "PERRRRYYYYY" - he's just that good. So good we all feel the need to scream his name LOL. He's super-human and has cool abilities…he takes care of Aria…he journeys across dangerous lands for her…he lets the girl he hated into his warm heart… *sighs* Watch out for this one. He might just kill you with his greatness.

Jace, Will & Jem from The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
Is Cassie drinking some super juice? Why are all of her boys so amazing? Before the influx of amazing 2012 books, Jace was my number one. No matter how many amazing guys come next year though, he'll still always be in my top ten. There's just something about him, right? Not surprised at all when he always wins contests *grins* Will's like Jace while Jem's in his own little sweet league... *steals them all* MINE!

So...have you met these boys yet? Did you fall in love too? Do I need to set up some play dates for you to meet them?

Let me know who's on your Best Boyfriend list! I'm insanely curious. So many other boys I adore but…anyway. These ones made the cut!

Review: Graffiti Moon

Title: Graffiti Moon
Author: Cath Crowley
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Published: February 14th 2012
Source: Net Galley

It’s the end of Year 12. Lucy’s looking for Shadow, the graffiti artist everyone talks about. His work is all over the city, but he is nowhere. Ed, the last guy she wants to see at the moment, says he knows where to find him. He takes Lucy on an all-night search to places where Shadow’s thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls. But the one thing Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.

Before anything else, I must give note to Crowley's writing. It's beautiful, poetic and will take you to another place. From her own poetry to her descriptions of artwork, her expression is elegant and bewitching. Whether you're a lover of the arts or if you've just stumbled across this novel by chance, you'll be able to appreciate and see art in a completely different way. Just magical and inspiring!

From the synopsis, it's obvious how the novel will play out. Shadow and Ed are one and the same, and Graffiti Moon follows the journeys of Ed and Lucy as they discover what they both want in life. While it's Lucy's mission to hunt down Shadow, a street artist who she admires and is in love with the idea of, Ed has the tougher task of straightening out his life. He's a high school dropout who works in a paint shop and tension in the novel is consistently built until we reach the end, when Ed must decide whether or not to rob the local high school for money.  

Grafitti Moon is like one big bundle of dramatic irony. The characters are so shielded from the truth and we're kept wondering when they'll finally discover the truth! Will something terrible happen in the mean time? Will there be a misunderstanding that'll ruin everything? Will Ed and Lucy get their happy ending? You'll have to wait and see! I think I expected too much of an "epic romance" which was why I was let down a little in that department. There was nothing romantic about the novel but it was, nevertheless, still a fantastic read about self-identity.

Art is essential to this story. It's through art that Lucy desires Shadow, that we learn about what Ed's thinking and what he's experienced, and that Lucy and Ed bond, seeing each other in a new light and without prejudice. You see, not too long ago...Lucy stupidly agreed to a date with Ed. He was a slob and she still has no idea why she thought it would be a good idea. So, a bad date involving Lucy and her fists…cue mutual dislike. It was nice seeing the characters transform. They come a long way!

Again, I thought this novel had a brilliant concept. It's more a "finding yourself" contemporary than a "falling in love" one, but it's still enjoyable. Graffiti Moon teaches us lessons about outward appearances and reinforces some important values that are easily forgotten. You never know..."the one" might be right in front of you too ;) With imagery so realistic, this novel is a piece of artwork in itself!

I read this so long ago and the review's just been sitting in my folders! Had to post up reviews for more important books first but anyway, glad to see so many Aussie books finally making it out into the world!

Find Cath on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website.
Buy Graffiti Moon from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top Ten Book Covers of 2011

Yesterday was the day to list our Top Ten Reads of 2011, today is our Top Ten Covers! So, like some *cough* did yesterday, I've also included an honourable mentions list ;) In no particular order, here are the gorgeous covers I couldn't help but drool over!


The Girl In The Steel Corset by Kady Cross: Oh the beautiful title in amongst the ruffles of Finley's even more beautiful dress!

Eve by Anna Carey: The typography and colours on this cover work magnificently. I love how they all fade into one another! And how about that gorgeous girl (or the back of her...) running to her freedom? Love the hair :)

Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep: I love all of the covers in the series but this one especially because well....FROST. Come on.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: This book caught my attention with it's stunning cover. When I read the amazing synopsis? Christmas came early this year!! Every element of this cover is pretty spot on. Who cares if it doesn't match the plot?

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder: The colours and elegant title just work. Hello lilies hiding in the background *wink* Big part of the novel!

Dearly Departed by Lia Habel: Dark-haired human beauty and zombie soldier? I'm in love! <3 Such a bold cover...

Across the Universe by Beth Revis: Upside down kiss - need I explain? For the longest time I didn't even realise it was two faces. I thought it was a starry vase. Like that optical illusion. *facepalm*

Wither by Lauren DeStefano: I think we were all wowed when we saw this amazing cover. It's not something we usually see on YA books, but how can you not love that dress and tortured pose?

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon: That girl rising above the sea... <3 Very magical!

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand: I adore our Australian cover! That dress is stunning and I love the forest setting. Just perfect!


So, what are your thoughts? Do you think these covers are magnificent or what? ;)

Yes, the second list is almost as long as the first but... *whistles* You didn't see anything...
I'm really not sure which covers fit where! Maybe some should be swapped around?

Once again, leave me links and I'll be sure to check your lists out!
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