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!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Follow Friday/Book Blogger Hop/TGIF: 30/9/11

Happy Friday! I'm officially on my break and can read tons and tons of books for the next few weeks. Last week, I read 6 in one weekend. What can I accomplish this week? ;)

Banned Books: How do you feel about the censorship of the freedom to read? Do you think the education system needs to be more strict on what children are exposed to in books? 

I don't think it's the right thing to do. People should be able to read whatever they like. What are we, in the middle ages? Ridiculous! I mean, unless the book has horrifying messages that no one on earth should read, then no, books should never be banned. If there is adult or controversial content, I think it's up to the child and the parent to decide how they go about that. Teenagers can handle adult content and are able to tell right from wrong. Books won't usually turn them into serial killers or convince them to take drugs so let it go! Of course, little kids shouldn't be reading these types of books but they don't anyway, do they? Young adults have brains so why take away their choices? Personally, I don't think the education system needs to up their strictness. Either keep it the same or lessen it!

What book that hasn't been turned into a movie (yet) would you most like to see make it to the big screen, and who would you like cast as your favorite character?

Obviously the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead! It has so much potential as a movie because it has just about everything anyone could possibly want! It'd appeal to both genders, all demographics, etc. and in general has a great story. Adrian Ivashkov is my favourite character and he'd be played by an Ian Somerhalder / Chace Crawford hybrid. *nods*

Book Blogger Hop

In honor of Banned Books Week, what is your favourite banned or frequently challenged book?

I can't find it on the ALA lists, but I know that Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma is banned by a lot of libraries. I was reading an article about it a while ago… Beautiful story. Loved it a lot. I understand why it would be banned (SO much controversial/adult content) but…it's still amazing and something people should read! If we're going by the list, perhaps the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead? How can you not love it? I think it's pretty rubbish to ban the whole series, after just a few pages of "lusty times" in the first book!

What do you think? Thoughts on banned books? Best book to movie? ;) Leave your links!

Review: Intertwined

Title: Intertwined
Author: Gena Showalter
Series: Intertwined #1
Publisher: Harlequin
Published: August 19th 2009
Source: Harlequin Australia for review

Most sixteen-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him: One can time travel. One can raise the dead. One can possess another human. One can tell the future. Everyone thinks he's crazy, which is why he's spent his entire life shuffled between mental institutions and juvie. All of that is about to change, however. For months Aden has been having visions of a beautiful girl—a girl who carries centuries-old secrets. A girl who will either save him or destroy him. Together they'll enter a dark world of intrigue and danger…but not everyone will come out alive.

What can I say? Intertwined is unique, gripping and packed full of adventure. Around every corner there's an unfolding mystery and it's all you can do to keep your head straight. The concept of this novel is fantastic and I think many of you will really enjoy it. There is something for everyone and the personalities you'll meet are all very likeable!

Let me just warn you: This series has many characters - many - but somehow, Showalter manages to develop each and every one really well, each with their own story lines, personalities and purposes. This was what I loved most about the novel. Aden (originally Haden, but he couldn't pronounce his own name properly as a child - cute, no?) lives in a foster home with ex-football player Dan and his wife. He shares the house with six other boys and they've always made life a living hell for him. Constantly called a basket case for "speaking to himself", Aden begins his journey to becoming someone of huge importance when a beautiful woman enters his life and turns it upside down.

Obviously the paranormal element is an integral part of this series. Not only are the characters a bit less than human but almost every popular supernatural creature you can think of is seen at some point! The true identities of many of the characters form one of the main mysteries of the novel so I won't spoil it for you. Who's human? Who's not? Who's got an evil agenda? Oh the mystery! The romantic relationships are also an interesting aspect of Intertwined as the different pairings are all quite possible! My favourite character is Riley - who and what he is, I can't tell, but it will all be very clear and obvious when you pick this up for yourself.

One of Aden's four spirits predicts that he will die a painful death. He will be stabbed in the heart some time after he receives three claw marks across his chest and readers are kept waiting in tense anticipation for this scene to occur. With the characters eventually paired up, you don't want anyone to lose a soulmate so the author successfully keeps us in constant worry. Aden has had these spirits inside of him since birth and it's not until now that he has any idea where they came from or how they got into him to begin with. It's yet another mystery we are given to solve!

Sorry for the secrecy, but I'm determined to let you enjoy the unraveling of these mysteries! With action, suspense and romance, Intertwined is sure to be a winner with many. The novel is fast-paced with many events occurring simultaneously, and the alternating narrators will keep you on your toes and happily entertained until the very end. A strong beginning to a fascinating series!
Who's read this book? What did you think? Was Riley great or what? ;)

Find Gena on Twitter, Goodreads, her Facebook Fanpage, website and blog.
Buy Intertwined from Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #2 (companion)
Publisher: Penguin
Published: November 29th 2011
Source: Penguin Australia for review

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Stephanie Perkins has blown me away yet again. She has an obvious talent for writing exhilarating romances with brilliant characters - I can't wait for more! Dolores Nolan aka Lola is a lover of fashion, letting her uniqueness shine through with her fun and quirky looks which change every day of the week. As a seventeen year old, she has a rocker boyfriend named Max. Thing is…he's twenty two and her gay dads aren't very pleased about it. They'd much rather she fall in love with Cricket Bell, her old best friend who broke her heart a few years ago when he used to live next door. Now that he and his famous twin sister have moved back…will the two rekindle their love for one another or will things prove to be just too difficult?

Like in Anna and the French Kiss, the main character of Lola and the Boy Next Door is trapped in a love triangle, however, the "other guy" isn't in another continent this time. Throughout the novel, Lola suffers from the guilt of having feelings for two boys. Deep down in her heart she knows that Cricket is special but how can she give up the boyfriend she already has and loves? Cricket Bell is awkward, intelligent and super cute. I love that he and Lola were best friends when they were kids! They were each other's first kisses (even though Lola mightn't have had his permission…), made adorable presents for each other and even annoyed his twin, Calliope, with their closeness. It's the kind of innocent and honest relationship we all love to read about. It was frustrating and even a little devastating to see almost everyone and everything getting in the way of their relationship. Boyfriends, friends, meddling sisters, parents…the evil forces of nature….will they ever be left alone? Every day and night they have an unspoken rule to see each other from their opposite facing windows. I lived for these sweet moments as we were able to see them naturally and without their real-life problems! The flashbacks are also to die for. They take us back to a time of happiness, although the anticipation of "the day that changed it all", otherwise known as "the day that Cricket Bell stuffed everything up", makes that sweetness very short-lived and valuable.

One of my favourite things about this novel was the presence of Anna and Etienne from the first. Lola and the Boy Next Door is the companion novel and to see our old favourites so often? Bliss! Their relationship is portrayed as being perfect and effortless, and upon seeing their absolute ease with each other, Lola is determined to find "The One". Despite how much I loved Cricket, Etienne St. Clair will always be my number one. He is my type of guy and the only thing stopping me from stealing him away is his height - did I mention that he's short…shorter than his girlfriend? *gasp* Cricket and Lola compliment each other perfectly though. Lola's the cool to Cricket's geek, the confident to his awkward, the crazy to his normal… The list goes on! At some point, Lola has a bit of an identity crisis. Max sees Lola (her normal self) and Lolita (her dressed-up self) as two different people, so which one is he in love with? Is Lola simply expressing herself or hiding who she really is? Luckily, Cricket steps in to reassure and aid our little princess, and I think you'll like the results. Lola and the Boy Next Door is essentially about change - in yourself and in the relationships which surround you.

If you enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss, this companion novel is sure to please. We were previously granted the story of finding true love for the first time, and now we get to see two people finding each other again after many years of separation! With this comes an intimacy that Perkins ALWAYS gifts us with and she is without a doubt one of the best YA romance writers out there. Impossible to be otherwise, the romance is heartwarming and will have you begging for Isla and the Happily Ever After. Will our two favourite couples appear in it also? We'll have to wait and see! ;)
What did you think? Did you prefer this over Anna and the French Kiss? I know some people preferred this one over the first and then there are others like me who are still loyal to Etienne ;) Do you think Isla will also be connected, and how so? Are you more interested in novels about new love or old love? What are you expecting from Isla and the Happily Ever After? Oh, so many questions!

Find Stephanie on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Lola and the Boy Next Door from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

Waiting on Wednesday: 28/9/11

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.


  Touch by Jus Accardo
Released November 1st 2011

When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home. Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized. Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe. A secret Kale will kill to protect.

How amazing does this sound? I love that Deznee snuck a guy into her house! How naughty. Interesting times are ahead ;) I'm especially excited to see this death-by-touch thing Kale's got going on! Is Touch on your to-read list? Excited? Link me to your WOWs!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: The Mephisto Covenant

Title: The Mephisto Covenant
Author: Trinity Faegen
Series: The Mephisto Covenant #1
Publisher: Egmost USA
Published: September 27th 2011
Source: Net Galley for review

Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat. A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha. With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?

Wow! That is The Mephisto Covenant in one word. I absolutely adored this novel and have been going slightly crazy over it ever since. I began reading with no expectations and was shocked when I fell in love instantly. It was very easy to get lost in Faegen's beautiful writing and to be captivated by her well-developed characters, thought out plot and cheeky humour.

When Sasha's mother is deported to Russia after being fired from her job with the State Department, Sasha is forced to move to Colorado to live with her hate-filled aunt, powerless uncle and cruel cousins. There, she runs into a boy named Jax, the same boy who saved her from being killed during a Ravens initiation meeting. The Ravens are a large cult, led by many all over the world but ultimately serve just one - Eryx, an immortal with a mission to overthrow Lucifer and take over Hell. Did I mention that he's Jax's brother? Running from evil skias, Sasha must work with Jax and his five other brothers to keep the ones she cares about safe and to keep herself alive.

Jax and his brothers are mephistos, people who capture skias and lost souls to rid the world of evil. Jax is intriguing, with his gorgeous physical appearance, kind heart, protectiveness, responsibility and attempts at aloofness towards Sasha. Trying desperately to keep her life light, without his dark influence, he falls more and more in love with her every day and fights the temptation he feels for her sexually, as engaging in such activity would alert Eryx to her existence at any given time. Sasha is an anabo, a being of light and purity. Only an anabo can fall in love with a son of Hell and redeem him in the eyes of God, which is why Eryx is so desperate to get his hands on her. Jax and Sasha are a sexy couple - drop dead sexy. Be prepared for lots of sexual tension, unhurried fondling and shameless staring. I loved it! Their relationship develops at a nice speed; slow enough to be realistic but fast enough to keep us interested and needy. The novel switches points of view between them and allows us insight into their very different worlds. Girl, boy, good, bad, anabo, mephisto, amateur, experienced…TICK!

I should stop talking. You just must read this. The characters are easy to connect with, the plot easy to follow, the mysteries exciting, and the romance sizzling. Even if you don't fall for Jax, I'm sure one of his brothers will tickle your fancy. Twists occur when you least expect and this novel will sate your hunger for a brilliant read.
*squees* Who else loved this? I am super excited for the second book! Which brother did you like the most? ;)
P.S. Sorry for the slightly dodgy review. My original was almost twice this length (I loved the book, okay?) and so it might have suffered a little with the chopping ;)

Find Trinity on Twitter, Goodreads, her website and blog.
Buy The Mephisto Covenant from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review: Beauty Queens

Title: Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published: May 24th 2011
Source: Allen & Unwin for review

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program--or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan--or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Libba Bray has been on the crazy pill and I will gladly be her supplier if she continues to pump out magnificent comedies such as Beauty Queens. What begins as a funny satirisation of beauty pageants and reality television transforms into a rich story about friendships, trust, survival and secrets. Enemies become friends, friends become enemies, friends become lovers… Every change you could possibly imagine is present in this novel, as is almost every race, sexual orientation and IQ level. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and recommend it to everyone!

In the beginning, a plane full of beauty queens and crew members flew high in the air. Then tragedy struck, and they all came tumbling down, down, down, down, onto a deserted island. Less than ten remained. At first, I found it difficult to relate to the many characters and to what was happening. Adina? Petra? Who are these people? But funnily enough, after the first few chapters you will know who they all are, what they look like, what their aspirations are and what personalities they have. In a very short amount of time, you will feel attached to these girls and you'll find that one or two will rise above the rest to become your favourites. Whether you like the strong but vulnerable type or the dumb but adorable type… There's a beauty for you! Personally, I adored Miss Mississippi the most. Tiara isn't the sharpest tool in the shed but she has a sweet heart, adorable humour and a brain hidden away behind those looks!

What I love about this novel is the way each of the girls have a story, which have shaped them into the people they are today. Their seemingly useless extracurricular activities and assignments help them to survive on the island by building shelter, finding food, attracting planes, and more! Way to rock our world, Bray! Each individual storyline is gripping and I could have easily read much more about each. The friendships formed are so endearing and you can only hope that they'll all make it off the island unscathed, still good friends and as better people than they arrived as.

There's a mysterious Operation Peacock at work on this island, run by a group of people preventing the rescue of these beauty queens. Who are they and what do they want? This was more comical than anything else. Paired with hilarious "commercial breaks" and product advertisements, I could not stop laughing! Despite this being a comedy, there are some big twists in Beauty Queens. Some people aren't who they say they are and this leads to some interesting outcomes... Be prepared for your jaw to drop!

All in all, this is a wonderful book that everyone must read. It's not all jokes and laughs - there are serious moments, sad moments and sexy moments too! Many will enjoy the abundant pop culture references and the not-so-subtle jokes. Thoroughly entertaining through and through, Beauty Queens will steal your heart and make you laugh until you cry!
Who else loved it? Annoyed with myself for having taken so long to get my hands on this! Saw it everywhere at the beginning of the year and didn't even think to read it! The cover (which I now love) looked strange and so I never bothered to read the plot summary! Yeesh. Silly me.

Find Libba on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website.
Buy Beauty Queens from Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway: Bachelor vs Bachelor - Final Round

You should know the drill by now, folks. For general information, rules and prizes, please read my original 6 Month Blogoversary post!

The votes are in and you guys are absolutely on fire! We were pretty close with votes this time....I'll post up all of the rankings after the final round so you can see how our gorgeous boys compared with each other ;) I'm very proud to announce that the three boys through to the final round are:

Peeta (The Hunger Games)
Four (Divergent)
Jace (The Mortal Instruments)

I can't say I'm surprised! These guys have been front-runners from the beginning and I cannot wait to see who will come out on top! Peeta, the sweet baker? Four, the almost-fearless warrior? Or Jace, the bad angel? I'll be quite happy with any of these guys winning so I'm very interested to see what happens!

As always, fill in THIS FORM. I will post the results, as well as the winners on October 2nd. On that day I will also announce the winners of my Fateful and Hades giveaways!

Are you happy with our finalists? Did your favourite bachelor from the first round make it this far? :)


[+5] Tweet:

Vote for your fave bachelor in the final round of @mssammydean's blogoversary giveaway. Win any book from her archive!

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: Rippler

Title: Rippler
Author: Cidney Swanson
Series: The Ripple #1
Publisher: Williams Press
Published: May 26th 2011
Source: Author for review

Samantha Ruiz has a freak gene that turns her invisible. She can’t control it, and it’s getting worse. Afraid of becoming a lab-rat, Sam keeps her ability secret, until fellow runner Will Baker sees her vanish into thin air. Will promises secrecy and help, and Sam begins to fall in love. Together, the two discover there are worse things than being a scientific curiosity. Someone’s been killing people who possess Sam's gene. A mysterious man from France sends letters that offer hope for safety, but also reveal a sinister connection with Nazi experiments. The more time Sam spends with Will, the less she can imagine life without him. When Sam uncovers secrets from her past, she must choose between keeping Will in her life or keeping Will safe.

When Samantha suddenly turns invisible on a canoeing trip with her cross-country team, she is shocked when she realises that her friend, Will, is now aware of her secret. He's witnessed her in action and knows more about her ability than she does herself. Who is he and where is he getting his information from? In their possession is a journal from over a century ago, and in it they discover the deep dark secrets of a disturbed stranger, which could give them more grief than help.

I enjoyed Cidney's writing style immediately. It was simple and in a way which conveyed Sam's exhilaration and the novel's mystery element really well. What seem to be riddles in the old journal are actually reports of experiments done on children in captivity. One plate less of food is provided to pit the children against each other, blankets are removed in the freezing weather for the same reason, water is withheld and only some unknown and possibly poisonous liquid is offered... It's a game of survival, designed to pick out the fittest, meanest and most ruthless. Who is willing to do anything? These flashback scenes are intriguing, and when you discover the way they link with the present… *gasp* Oh my!

Will and Sam have a thing for each other, obviously, but they don't act on their feelings very often. The times they do hug and kiss are adorable though. How about those friends-fall-in-love stories! Will lives with his sister, Mickie, and she just might be my favourite character. Responsible with a hint of cheeky…what's not to like? Her university professor was a man called Pfeffer, someone who's now dead. Theory: Everyone who knows about the Rippler Syndrome is picked off one by one. Fact: One false move and they're in big trouble.

I enjoyed reading about their exploration of invisibility and seeing the mystery unfold, but I would have liked to see more action and plot. There are hints and trickles of the plot throughout, which culminate to form an exciting last few chapters. Some spread would've improved Rippler a whole deal but despite that, this was a fun, yet serious, novel which should have just the right amount of mystery to pull you in. A good debut novel by Swanson!
Invisibility is cool, right? What would you do if you could hide yourself? ;) Isn't this cover gorgeous, by the way?

Find Cidney on Goodreads, Facebook and her blog.
Buy Rippler from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: 21/9/11

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.


  Awake at Dawn by C.C. Hunter
Released October 11th 2011

Now that she’s settled in at Shadow Falls Camp, Kylie Galen’s determined to discover the extent of her supernatural abilities.  But with a ghost insisting someone Kylie loves is about die, a rogue vampire on a murdering rampage, and her sixth sense telling her someone is watching her, Kylie’s quest for answers is quickly put on hold. To make matters worse, just when she’s about to give her heart to Derek, a half-fairy, he starts pulling away.  When Lucas, a werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past, returns, Kylie’s feels more conflicted than ever. Her weekend with her mom should have been the just the break Kylie needs, but it turns out to be her breaking point.  Someone from the dark side of the supernatural world has plans for Kylie--and it'll take all her resources to get back to Shadow Falls alive...

I haven't even read Born At Midnight yet but I've been meaning to for a very long time! I really like the summary and both covers are gorgeous. The colours just look great. They've got this luminous and magical feeling to them, especially the sequel ;)

Are you excited for this? What did you think of the first novel? Should I get my hopes up? :) Link me to your WOWs!

Just Curious (4) - Graphic Novels

 Just because I am honestly curious. No schedules. No plans. Just random questions that I'll ask every so often when I feel like it.

It seems like graphic novels are all that these days! Twilight, Vampire Academy, Hush Hush...they've all been translated from words to images. So, what do we think?

  • We love to play around with more because we don't want our loves to end! I'll miss the characters after the final novel is released!
  • It's like a movie. We see our favourite scenes played out for us, without the hassle of reading through all of the words. It's a new, fun and enjoyable experience!
  • Perhaps we'll gain a new perspective on a certain topic? I can't imagine things will be exactly the same. It'll be as if a whole new version of the novel is written! (ie. more new content!)
  • The characterisation might suffer. With the lack of many words to narrate and get into the characters' heads...things could get a bit tricky!
  • The change in plot/scenes would work out as a negative too. You know when you're favourite book is made into a movie and the scenes are all...wrong? They take out some important things....put in some new... Maybe not for the better!
  • These aren't going to be encyclopedia-thick. If one novel = one graphic....we could see some serious condensation. If one novel = 10 volumes....that doesn't work out either! I hate it when scenes go missing or are dragged out too long!
  • Maybe the images of the characters aren't to your liking? If they look terrible then that might affect the way you see them in your head!I know this is true if you watch movies before reading the books!

It's probably important to mention that I have never read a graphic novel before. Have you? What did you think? Are these pros/cons correct? Are there any others? I'm really curious to see if graphic novels have the ability to be as gripping as novels. I find it hard to imagine getting lost in images!

So, the Hush Hush Graphic Novel is out October 18th! I'm very excited to see this because...angels....heck yes. Looking at the cover... *blinks* Is that..Patch? Where did he go and why is a scary body builder in this place? Or more importantly...why aren't his wings nice and fluffy? *pouts* I kid, I kid. We know he's a badass angel who doesn't do fluffy. *sigh* Think he'll look like this in the actual novel?
If you want to win an AMAZING prize (ie. APPEAR in the next graphic novel as a character plus be held in Patch's strong arms in your own customised poster) then check out THIS CONTEST!
Comic Book Resources also has a brilliant interview with Becca! Lots of delicious information that every fan should know! Read more HERE!

CBR News: Becca, tell us about "Hush, Hush" as a graphic novel. What's in, what's out and what's new?
Becca Fitzpatrick: The first "Hush, Hush" graphic novel will cover one third of the "Hush, Hush" novel. Sea Lion Books [publisher] are determined to make it as close to the novel as possible. The big surprise with the graphic novel will be the original bonus story. It reveals what happens to Patch and Nora between "Hush, Hush" and the sequel, "Crescendo."

The Vampire Academy Graphic Novel was released on August 23rd. Looking at the cover now......I'm not too impressed! The characters look nothing like I imagined. I'm sure lots of you have read this (being fans of the novels) so how was it? How did it compare with the novels? Would it have been enjoyable without reading the novels previously? Not sure when I'll pick this up, or if I will at all, so it'll be good to get some feedback :)

Sea Lion Books is also publishing the Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead. I loved Richelle's other adult series (Georgina Kincaid) and think this one looks even better! I cannot wait to read the novels and in turn, these graphics. What do you think is better? Reading the novel first or second? And, if the novel has adult content *wink wink* how is this done? Are these scenes left out? Blurred? Put in? Do graphic novels usually have a rating or any censorship? I'll be getting this series to review when I have time but until then, perhaps click on the thumbnails to check out the first 6 pages ;) P.S. Aren't the facial expressions in the 3rd image and the dialogue in the 2nd hilarious?

That's my little piece for today! I look forward to hearing all of your thoughts! Many many questions scattered throughout the whole post. Feel free to talk about whatever you like LOL.
Other Sea Lion Things:

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author: Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: September 20th 2011
Source: Net Galley for review

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.  Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess. And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake. Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.

If you're looking for a novel which completely changes your opinion of the main character as the story progresses, this is the one for you. Overweight, lazy and ugly, Elisa finds herself wedded to King Alejandro, a handsome man who surprisingly does not look at her in disgust. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is about Elisa's journey to become a fierce, strong, fit and brave leader. The character development is executed wonderfully and the exaggerated negative characterisation of Elisa in the beginning only furthers the extreme transformation. On her dedication day as a baby, God's light washed over her and blessed her with a Godstone, a sign that she has been chosen by God to fulfil an important purpose. She must complete her service whether or not she realises she is doing it, even if she disagrees with the path laid out before her and even if she might not survive. Most die before accomplishing anything. It's all she can do to hope for a happy ending.

While the beginning was unique and interesting, it was a little hard to understand, with all of the strange names, locations and history. But soon enough, after the first few chapters, things just began to make sense and here's where the journey starts! Initially, it was very difficult for me to read about such a pathetic protagonist, and Elisa's transformation by the end of the book is absolutely amazing. When she gets kidnapped in the night, she loses weight and learns how to survive on her own. She also manages to lead a group of otherwise hopeless people to safety, with vicious enemies planning to destroy their villages. At times the novel was serious and sad, and at others it was lighthearted, fun and exciting. Elisa's adventures are fascinating and oh so interesting to read about! She's a genius!

One of the people who kidnapped Elisa was Humberto, a boy her age with the skills of someone much older. He sees Elisa for the strong person she is from the very beginning and falls in love with her, despite her marriage to King Alejandro. Carson positions us to favour this relationship, as it is healthy and full of honesty, rather than the passionless and false relationship between the King and Queen. Alejandro has a mistress - can you believe it? He isn't keen to tell others about his secret marriage either...tut tut. I must say, though, his son Rosario is the most adorable thing! You'll definitely fall in love with him.

The conclusion of The Girl of Fire and Thorns is perfect. Everything just falls into place and feels right - peaceful. I cannot wait for the sequel to see what Queen Elisa will do next! Now that she's come into herself and her powers, I'm sure she has many great adventures ahead of her.
Did you read this too? What did you think? Excited to get your hands on this! ;)

Find Rae on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website.
Buy The Girl of Fire and Thorns from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review: Hades + Giveaway

Title: Hades
Author: Alexandra Adornetto 
Series: Halo #2
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: August 30th 2011
Source: Harper Collins Australia for review

Bethany Church is an angel sent to Earth to keep dark forces at bay. Falling in love was never part of her mission, but the bond between Beth and her mortal boyfriend, Xavier Woods, is undeniably strong. But even Xavier’s love, and the care of her archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, can’t keep Beth from being tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell. There, the demon Jake Thorn bargains for Beth’s release back to Earth. But what he asks of her will destroy her, and quite possibly, her loved ones, as well.

What can I say? Alexandra Adornetto is back to put us through the emotional ringer! After a Halloween seance goes terribly wrong, Bethany Woods is kidnapped into the frightening depths of hell where she must spend her days with Jake Thorn, trapped and only able to hope for release. While Hades wasn't as brilliant as Halo, it was only by a very tiny amount and that was probably due to my longing for the 24/7 time we had with Xavier like in the first book. He is still very much a big part of this novel though, so don't fret!

Jake, one of the princes of Hell, was a completely evil character in Halo, bringing distress and pain into the lives of mortals. Now, we see a more compassionate and caring side of him, if that's possible. Does he really have feelings for Bethany or is it all just a ploy to have her be his evil bride? I found this mystery and their relationship very intriguing. Even with Xavier in the picture, you can't help but wonder! He offers to take away her bad memories, pampers her and falls over his feet trying to please her... Perhaps Jake isn't as cold-blooded as we think he is. Hell is littered with all sorts of people - torturers, lusty lovers, doomed souls and more. Although Beth runs into her fair share of nasties, she befriends Tucker and Hanna, people who aid her in her escape. With the help of Tuck, she drinks from a river which allows her to astral project herself, at any time, to anywhere she wants. Best thing that could ever happen! Hello, regular Xavier appearances.
"They're so childish,” I complained to Xavier as we walked to French class together. Doors slammed, announcements rang over the loudspeaker, and chatter flowed freely around us, but Xavier and I were locked in our own world. “They want to hold a séance and go dressed as bunnies.”
“What kind of bunnies?” he asked suspiciously.

“Playboy, I think. Whatever that means.”
“That sounds about right.” Xavier laughed. “But don’t let them talk you into anything you don’t feel comfortable with.”
“They’re my friends.”
“So what?” He shrugged. “If your friends walked off a cliff, would you do it too?”
“Why would they walk off a cliff?” I asked in alarm. “Is someone having problems at home?”
Although the lovers are in two different places physically, they can still find each other in their minds. Xavier can sense Beth's presence and remains strong in his search for her, with the help of Ivy and Gabriel. I love that Xavier really stepped up to the task and was completely determined, not afraid in the face of danger. On Earth, Beth's companions are having their own adventure, trying to find a portal to Hell in order to rescue her. The big surprise? Molly. Oblivious, immature, human Molly has her eyes opened to the supernatural world and tags along on these missions! Still in love with Gabe, there's always a question about whether he feels something in return. It sounds impossible and ridiculous (and no, just NO!) but…what if? Great character development once again - I can't wait for more!

When Jake is enraged, he makes his way to Earth and threatens to end Xavier's life…unless Beth makes a deal with him. Obviously, we know that's a bad move but what she can do? The final parts of Hades will surely make you gasp. Something happens with Jake….something happens with Xavier…something happens with Beth... Definitely some lose-your-mind material. Huge cliffhanger ahead - beware! I cannot wait for Heaven and know that it'll be magnificent. The series will end on a high and I'm very excited for it! The foreshadowing in this one's got my brain gears going....
Are you excited for Heaven like I am? Have you or will you tune in for this second book?

Find Alexandra on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website.
Buy Hades from Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Which cover do you fancy?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

6 Month Blogoversary Giveaway - Bachelor vs. Bachelor Round 2

You guys are awesome. So many entries in just a few days! Be sure to check out my original blogoversary giveaway post to see what this is all about! Two lucky people will win any book they wish that's in my review archive or upcoming review list :)

Here are the results for Round 1 of Best Bachelor voting! In no particular order, here are your top ten bachelors! I can't say I'm surprised...

Sam (Shiver)
Peeta (The Hunger Games)
Jem (The Infernal Devices)
Four (Divergent)
Jace (The Mortal Instruments)
Adrian (Vampire Academy)
Patch (Hush Hush)
Etienne (Anna and the French Kiss)
Lucas (Starcrossed)
Dimitri (Vampire Academy)

Are we ready for round 2? VOTE HERE! 
You MAY NOT vote more than once in each round.
You MAY NOT vote for the same bachelor more than once in each round
You MAY get extra entries in each round.

Just like last time, put in your details, grab a few extra entries and vote for your favourite bachelor! 

The final round will be posted in five days and we will come closer to seeing which amazing bachelor will come out on top! Who do you think it'll be? Who are you rooting for? :)


[+5] Tweet:
It's @mssammydean's blogoversary! Vote for your fave bachelor (Round 2) to win any book from her review archive!

[+5] Giveaway button:

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In My Mailbox: 17/9/11

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Let us know what books you've bought, borrowed or received for review!

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Read this. Loved it! Cricket Bell is such a sweetheart, though St. Clair's still my man ;) Huge thanks to Penguin Australia!

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
I got this from Harper Collins Australia, expecting to hate it. Imagine my surprise when it blew me away and got me addicted ;) That Xavier is one fine guy! Check out the review I posted yesterday. Will post my Hades review tomorrow, along with my giveaway! 5 copies up for grabs :)

Nocturne by Christine Johnson
This is the sequel to Claire de Lune - anyone read it? The werewolf storyline definitely sounds interesting so it's going on the TBR pile. Should it be up towards the top or lower? Thanks Simon & Schuster Australia!

The Luxe by Anna Godberson
Beautiful cover! I received this after a swap with Sas from Tea Mouse Book Reviews. This series as well as Bright Young Things looks good! Which should I read first? Which did you prefer? Sas threw in some swag for me too. How adorable are those Vampire Academy buttons? <3

Cahills vs. Vespers: The Medusa Plot
This seems to be some cool action/adventure novel. It's interactive and comes with these cards you can do things with online to "solve the mystery". Reading + online gaming + card collecting... Sounds interesting. Anyone heard of this? It's sort of a sequel series to the original 39 Clues series. Both have gotten good reviews so...who knows? I might give it a go one day when I get the time! Thanks to Scholastic Australia!

Conspiracy 365: Revenege by Gabrielle Lord
Another one from Scholastic. Another action/adventure. Must be what's in this month LOL. I actually can't find a Goodreads page for this! There's the original 12 book series for each month...and then there's this. *scratches head*

Devoted by Hilary Duff
I've seen a few people reading Elixir these past few weeks! The summary of the first book sounds a little strange. Anyone read this? Feedback please? :) Thanks Simon & Schuster Australia!

What do you think of these? Any in particular that you've liked or are interested in? Leave me your thoughts and links!

Cover Reveal: Insurgent

Ahh! Have you seen this? The cover of Insurgent by Veronica Roth is out! May 2012 is slowly creeping closer.....

Love the strong title, like in Divergent. The first novel depicts the symbol of Dauntless, and now Amity. Will Tris be spending all of her time in Amity? Hmm... I think this cover would look gorgeous in my hands but it just isn't jumping out on me from the screen. The smokey sky surrounds the Amity symbol and sort of hides it. There's no standing out like with the contrasting colours in Divergent!

What do you think of this cover? Do you like it? More than Divergent?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: Halo

Title: Halo
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Series: Halo #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: August 31st 2010
Source: Harper Collins Australia for review

Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments. Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong. The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

Colour me shocked. Halo was an amazing read and I immediately fell head over heels in love! Yes, yes, we've seen the negative views but guess what? I held my breath the whole way through this, waiting for something terrible, but I never found it! The novel was throughly exciting and the romance was delicious. Edward and Bella, you say? Absolutely not! Definitely recommending this breathtaking read.

When three angels arrive in Venus Cove to balance the suspiciously high levels of evil with their goodness, Bethany Church finds herself on earth amongst mortals for the very first time. She's young, impressionable and naive when it comes to the behaviour of teenagers. She is joined by Gabriel, her brother who poses as a young school music teacher, and Ivy, her sister who spends her time helping the community rather than attending high school. From the very first page, I was engrossed in Alexandra's descriptive and detailed writing. In other circumstances, it might have made the novel slow, but this style just fit Halo. Beth is seeing and experiencing everything for the first time after all. Who can fault her for admiring grass or shrieking at the sound of frightening trains? The language flows fluidly and simply too, making it very easy to speed through.

On her first day of school, Beth runs into none other than Xavier Woods, captain of the school and water polo team. He also tutors kids in swimming, plays rubgy, baseball, lacrosse….. Must I go on? Xavier is a brilliant character and you'd be pretty hard pressed not to like him! He has a fantastically strong personality and has good morals to boot. Even Ivy and Gabriel, the strict rule-keepers, can't debate that he and Beth are perfect for one another. Now it's defending time. People often criticise this novel because Beth is too naive and dependent on Xavier. I think they're forgetting one important thing - she's new to this! She's never had alcohol and doesn't know when people are giving her dodgy relationship advice. What do you expect? Trust me, if Beth were human I would've found her very irritating. Instead, Beth's naivety is very endearing and Xavier takes great pleasure in teasing her. He also helps her to understand everything - could I swoon and "aww" any more?

Unlike her warrior brother and healer sister, Bethany has yet to discover her ability. All that she knows is that she's different from other angels, being strangely emotional towards humans and desiring to have relationships with them. She finds herself getting attached to her subjects on a personal level and finds it difficult to treat it as just work. When the antagonist rides into Venus Cove on his motorcycle, all hell breaks loose! Beth's kind heart makes it difficult for her to see his evil intentions, and this complication will lead to a climax that'll have your heart jumping out of your chest! The beautiful love story slowly transitions into a fantabulous thriller and my goodness…. This is some good storytelling.

If you have not yet read this book, do so now. I don't care if people say negative things about it! I don't care if you tried reading it but gave up! Pick Halo up right this moment and read it. I'm sending my awesome-romance-high your way and praying that you all love this as much as I did.
Who's given this a go? Did you like it? Are you willing to give it a go after this review? ;)
“I’m not that scary.”
“You know what Gabriel means,” said Ivy. “All he’s suggesting is that you think before you speak. No personal talk about home, no ‘God reckons’...or ‘God told me’...they might think you’re on something.”

“Fine,” I said huffily. “But I hope I’m at least allowed to fly around the corridors during lunch hour.” Gabriel threw me a disapproving look. I waited for him to get my joke, but his eyes remained serious. I sighed. Much as I loved him, Gabriel could be totally lacking in any sense of humor.
Find Alexandra on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September 16th - 30th Releases

The second half of September has arrived! Here are some delicious books I'm looking forward to or have had the pleasure of reading already. Did you miss the first half? Check out September 1st-15th books HERE. Let me know in the comments which books you're most excited to read or have read and loved! :)

If I Die by Rachel Vincent - 20th September
Everyone else is talking about Eastlake High’s gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck, but Kaylee Cavanaugh has bigger things on her mind. Kaylee’s a banshee—her scream is a portent of death. But the next scream might hit too close to home. Kaylee’s borrowed lifeline has almost run out.

Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen - 20th September
Cordelia is still reeling from the death of her father at the hands of Thom Hale, the man she thought she loved. Now she is set to honor Darius Grey’s legacy . . . and take her revenge. Promised to Cordelia’s half brother, Astrid is caught up in a world of dazzling jewels and glittering nights—and the sparkle is blinding. Charlie Grey is a gangster playing a dangerous game; and for Astrid, Cordelia, and Letty, the stakes could be deadly. 

Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions - 20th September
Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson - 20th September
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess. Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey - 20th September
When her boyfriend, Danny, is killed in a car accident, Wren can’t imagine living without him. Wild with grief, she uses the untamed powers she’s inherited to bring him back. But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy she once loved. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school and somehow, inexplicably, he can sense her secret.

The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegan - 27th September
Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat. A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha. With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies - 27th September
On the night of Skye’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites—like fire and ice—Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - 27th September
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can. She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed. There is. She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - 27th September
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out. When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Shifting by Bethany Wiggins - 27th September
After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target. 

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan - 27th September
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - 29th September
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson - 29th September
The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago. Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him.

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