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!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

All Hail The Mail! (10)

All Hail The Mail will be posted weekly to showcase the books I've received for review! 

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa
Sacrifice by Cayla Kluver
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Minder by Kate Kaynak
Rift by Andrea Cremer
Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore
Envy by Elizabeth Miles
The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George
When It Happens by Susane Colasanti
Traitors by Tom Becker
Going Underground by Susan Vaught
Vicious Little Darlings by Katherine Easer

Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson
Endless by Jessica Shirvington
Just For Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Once by Anna Carey
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Blood Storm by Rhiannon Hart
Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame
Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
Witch by Fione Horne
Hammering Iron by L.S. Lawrence
Ransomwood by Sherryl Jordan
Haunters by Thomas Taylor
Rumour Has It by Ali Cronin

A huge thanks to Harlequin, Scholastic, Spencer Hill Press, Hachette, Allen & Unwin, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Bloomsbury Harper Collins and Random House for the books!

Yes, what a big load of books I have on my hands! As you must know by now, I took a break from reading and blogging and that lasted for two months. I felt awful about ditching you guys and leaving my books untouched but alas, real life was horribly mean and stressful... Last month was probably the worst ever for many reasons but now that it's over, better times await!

Good news: I attended my last day of "proper" school on Thursday.
Bad news: I still have two sets of exams so I'll be completely MIA for about a week in October and November each.
Good news: I won't be ditching the blog again because if I'm smart, I'll have posts ready.
Good news: After November 23rd, I'M ALL YOURS.
Bad news: I actually have to go into surgery a week later (all 4 wisdom teeth - cursing the one that's still under the gum)
Good news: Bedridden Lisa = Lots of reading with a good excuse

I guess I'm done talking now. Happy to be back and hope to see you around the blog! <3 p="p">

What came in the mail for you this week?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Warning: I read this book two months ago. I haven't written a review in two months. This could be the dodgiest review ever written, who knows. Bare with me...

Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #1
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Published: June 1st 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Thirty-five beautiful girls. Thirty-five beautiful rivals… It’s the chance of a lifetime and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon's love. Swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels and decadent feasts, America is living a new and glamorous life. And the prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others. Rivalry within The Selection is fierce and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they don’t know is that America has a secret — one which could throw the whole competition… and change her life forever.

If we reverse this story, it's every girl's fantasy, right? A group of the very best men, vying for your love and hand in marriage… Well, sorry, that's not what happens in the real world…...unless you get accepted into The Bachelorette: Elite or something.

Very reluctantly, America Singer is thrown into a competition designed to pit girl against girl in the most extravagant setting. While The Selection would be the greatest opportunity for any other girl, America sees it as her own personal form of hell. Catty princesses, snobby royals and excess? Who needs to go through all of that for a husband when they already have a beautiful boyfriend at home? Right?! So really, no one could have predicted the bond she would form with 18 year old Prince Maxon…

I know this book didn't hit the right notes for everyone who read it, but I absolutely loved it. The awkward and sweet relationship between America and Maxon had me reeling, even though they were just acquaintances slash friends for the most part. Although strongly against it, America eventually accepted the spot as a sacrifice to give her family a better life. If she wins the competition, they'll become Ones and live easily, rather than desperately as Fives. After greeting the show's fans and viewers, America is shocked when the rest of the nation take an instant liking to her, enamoured with her authenticity and kind heart. She stands out amongst the group of Barbies and, I can assure you, Maxon takes notice even though she's not what he's looking for at all… (or so he thinks)

I could have stayed in this world FOREVER. You'd think that I wouldn't fall in love with someone who was so uptight and controlled. That I would never abandon Aspen, the loving and dedicated guy back home who's ready to tie the knot. Well. I can't explain it either, but that Prince does silly things to me, even when he's not trying. He makes mistakes and then does the sweetest things. His behaviour is carefully planned to impress his ladies, yet unpredictable and natural at the same time. The two sides of Maxon are a delicious contradiction but the complete package is oh so loveable. I love the way that Cass was able to incorporate Aspen into the story, seeing as America was locked up in a secure mansion far away from home! Ooh, makes you wonder.

The Selection will probably not be what you're expecting. It's entertaining and lighthearted, yet intense and emotional at the same time, and the entire process of the competition thus far has been immensely exciting. I would give away a million babies for the second book right now so I can dive back into the girly politics and check out what's happening in Love Triangle Land. All of Kiera's characters are unique and wonderful, whether they were intended to be likeable or not, and for me there wasn't one unenjoyable moment. This book is full of friendship, blossoming romance, girl rivalry, action (yes, the dangerous rebels vs. royals kind) and intentionally-messing-with-your-feelings moments. I couldn't have asked for a better "Royals" story. One Prince. Thirty five girls. One wife-to-be. One seriously amazing book.

Find Kiera on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website.
Buy The Selection from Amazon, The Book Depository, Booktopia and Barnes & Noble.

Okay, let me apologise again in advance. This review is on drugs (SORRY KIERA) but I don't feel too guilty because I'm sure many of you have read this book already. Do you share my love for it or....?

See you all on the weekend for All Hail The Mail! I'll explain my long absence then ;)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing The Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Published: August 2nd 2012
Source: Publisher for review

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins--the smoking hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket--explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible. Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Pushing The Limits is an addictive contemporary that is one of my favourite reads this year. The complex characters are impossible not to love, and it's highly likely that you'll attempt to read this all in one sitting. Whether you're in it for the intense romance or the heartbreaking story, this book definitely won't disappoint!

Echo Emerson used to be popular. With her gorgeous red hair, ample cleavage, creativity and intelligence, she had everything going for her. Until she woke up one day and found horrific scars on her arms. She can't even remember how she got them but we discover that her estranged mother was somehow involved. Echo's brain has repressed the frightening memories and she now undergoes therapy with her pushy father and young, home-wrecking stepmother, Ashley, to try and uncover the truth. Her parents are unhelpful and unsympathetic to her situation, pretending that everything is fine and that she just needs to forget and move on. Her father focuses solely on Ashley and their coming baby, seemingly ready to move on with a new family. My heart broke for Echo. She has negligent parents, her schoolmates treat her like a cutter and her friends beg her to be "normal" again, the way she was before her social status took a nosedive. Ouch! Echo's an amazing character and I loved the strength she possessed. We get there eventually ;)

Noah Hutchins is a shameless manwhore and his first few encounters with Echo are not friendly. At all. As a guy who's been shuffled around foster homes and not been given a fair go, he's jaded and assumes that she's a spoilt rich kid with stupid problems when he sees her in the social worker's office, but begins to think otherwise after he sees her scars. Noah's transformation was stunning to watch. Although his attraction to Echo's…assets…is immediate, he learns a little bit more about the mysterious and complicated girl with every encounter. He treats her with an understanding and gentleness that no one else has before, but also makes a lot of mistakes with her, due to the way he's used to behaving. Both go on a bumpy learning experience together, healing themselves and each other in the process. They're a beautiful couple and perfect for one another, despite both having their own issues and flaws.

Noah's almost as complicated as Echo. After his parents died in a house fire, he was put into foster care and soon labelled as violent after he prevented his foster dad from abusing his own son. No one stood up for Noah and he lost his two younger brothers to another family as a consequence. He now only gets the occasional visit, but has his mind set on getting them back after he turns 18. Here we introduce the issues of whether or not the foster family is mistreating his brothers like he suspects, how Noah will support them and if he'll be granted custody at all. He's learnt not to trust people and I felt so relieved when Echo began to change all of that. He couldn't have been more supportive and caring for SO MANY REASONS. This book is long so I can't even go into details but…trust me. His list of "boyfriend achievements" is endless.

So by now, you know that the romance is epic. Sexy, romantic, emotional…is there any better kind? It is miles deep, thanks to the time and effort McGarry put into writing well-developed and realistic characters. If you're wondering how the two get pushed together, Echo wants to restore her dead brother's car and needs her own money to do so. Noah needs to put more effort into school to prove that he can support his brothers in the future. Solution? Tutoring! Their sessions with the social worker also play a big part in their relationship and the plot, but again, I won't spoil ;) The mystery in Pushing The Limits is deliciously good and I loved unravelling the pasts of these characters. Have fun theorising and trying to predict the twists!

As you can gather from my long-winded and probably nonsensical review, I thought this book was all kinds of fantastic. Everything McGarry attempted to do worked perfectly and I can hardly praise this book enough. While she'll crush your heart, she'll fill it with the most satisfying feeling of love too. Pushing The Limits has their perfect amount of backbone, heartache, cuteness, angst and love to please anyone. The themes are obviously quite heavy but gosh, it's good. I dare you to not to like this book!

If I had it my way, my review would be double this length... I could gush about every little thing for hours and hours! Bet you loved this book too, hmm?

Find Katie on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website.
Buy Pushing The Limits from Amazon, The Book Depository, Booktopia and Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

All Hail The Mail! (9)

All Hail The Mail will be posted weekly to showcase the books I've received for review! 

False Memory by Dan Krokos
This book just happened to fall into my lap! Elizabeth Norris's agent contacted me about my Unravelling review, recommended False Memory and managed to organise a copy to come my way since US publishers don't usually send INTL :)

Revamped by Ada Adams
This one's here for an Aussie book tour! I've heard only good things about it so I can't wait to get started. It's not pictured here but it came with a bunch of swag. I'll be pinching just one piece and then sending the whole lot on its merry way again ;)

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
I've got it. Finally. I know I'm super late to this series but I'VE GOT IT NOW. I'm expecting amazing things from this book. Excited!

No Such Thing As Forever by Ali Cronan
I love that this book has multiple main characters! I like seeing different relationships in the one book and others seem to be liking this one so I'm intrigued...

Speechless by Hannah Harrington
AH! Do I spot another fabulous contemporary? Yes! I haven't read Hannah's other books yet (but one day!) so I'm really looking forward to getting my first taste.

Blood Storm by Rhiannon Hart
Really enjoyed the first book so I'm looking forward to continuing the series! Wonder what the characters will get up to next...

Messy by Heather Cocks
This one sounds interesting! Fame and lies……since when do they go well together? ;)

Thanks to Janet & Dana, Ada, Hachette, Penguin, Harlequin, Random House and Allen & Unwin for the books!

What did you receive this week? :)

Winners of my Team Human giveaway - Congratulations!
Alexandra S
Hannah M
Jenelle R
Alice S
Sharon C

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Surrender by Lee Nichols

Title: Surrender
Author: Lee Nichols
Series: Haunting Emma #3
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Published: April 2012
Source: Publisher for review

After a devastating battle at headquarters in New York, the ghostkeeping world is in shambles. When Emma and Bennett return home, they are determined to defeat the wraithmaster, Neos, forever. But it's not going to be easy. Bennett's parents kick him out when they realize he is still using drugs to enhance his powers. Emma is convinced her aunt has come back from the dead to warn her of a new threat. And worst of all, Neos is using wraiths to possess the students at Thatcher Academy. If the ghosts manage to take over the entire school, even Emma won't be strong enough to stop them. But if either she or Bennett sacrifice his or her powers, they might be able to save the ghostkeeping world once and for all-and break the "ghostkeepers lose their powers when they fall in love" curse. The question is: who will be the one to surrender all power?

After three books, this much loved series has finally come to a close. The previous book ended with Bennett being addicted to the drug, asarum, and Emma trying to prevent it from tearing apart their relationship. Neos continued on his rampage to destroy the ghostkeepers but the final battle is now just around the corner… I felt that Surrender lacked something I can't put my finger on in the character department, but it still delivered on the humour and entertainment.

It was interesting watching the romance between Emma and Bennett develop over the series. Their love was initially forbidden because Bennett was her brother's best friend, and then because of the fact that only one ghostkeeper in the relationship could keep their powers. It's been an uphill struggle, with some sweet moments thrown in, but things reach the peak of crazy and confusing in Surrender. One minute, they're making out (and continuously getting walked in on by their parents…awkward…) and in the next they're all angsty with the issue of Bennett's drug addiction. I couldn't help but want to smack him in this book! Yes, he had good intentions but his attitude just didn't sit well with me. Now would be the time to growl at asurum's evil side-effects... As it was the last book, I was expecting them to get back together pretty early on but Nichols does a good job at making us wait! I wanted their love to be stronger and more prominent in this story, but overall I'm pleased with how things turned out for them.

The creep factor gets amped up many notches as Neos becomes desperate and steps up his own game. The gang concludes that he's going to go after his remains so that they can't be destroyed by others. When? Where? Who knows! Everyone's on their tippy toes. A race to find them ensues, people get possessed, Emma has strange visions and Bennett begins keeping (more) secrets. What's everyone up to? Of course, I'm not telling you because you deserve to be kept in the dark too! I really enjoyed the final few fight scenes. As always, they were exciting and had great build up.

Surrender's final chapter is beautiful and very satisfying. Every character gets their shining moment, whether it's a bittersweet farewell or a look at the great things awaiting them, and every little end is tied up neatly. Although it's sad for me to let these wonderful characters go, I'm happy to know that they're all in good places now, wherever that may be in the world. I definitely recommend this series to those who want a fun adventure, even though this last book didn't blow me away ;)

Am I the only one who's disappointed that the AU cover matches the US set? WHY? I strongly dislike owning books that don't match LOL. 

What did you think of this series? :)

Find Lee on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

All Hail The Mail! (8)

All Hail The Mail will be posted weekly to showcase the books I've received for review!

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
After finishing Pushing the Limits last night (LOVELOVELOVE), I think I'm beginning to really enjoy these tough contemporaries with "damaged" characters, who deal with a pile of nonsense at home! Looks like many people enjoyed this - looking forward to it :)
A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young
I loved the first book of this series and can't wait to continue! I'm very curious about Elise and how she's connected to Charlotte.. Plus, I want to see how this love triangle pans out! It's a nice change since Charlotte was already in a relationship in the first book.

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
I'm dying. This book sounds too good to be true! Well, I guess I'm just obsessed with people fighting to survive LOL. And the cover is super badass. I've been reading reviews and am a little weary about this insta-love but...I hope I'm lucky and manage not to notice..?

Fire in the Sea by Myke Bartlett
Sadie sounds like me. In Perth and bored. But then the synopsis goes on to talk about a bunch of weird things and..ahem. I'll be giving this a pass.... I wonder who designed the cover? =S

Thanks to Allen & Unwin, Harper Collins, Hachette and Text for the review copies!

What did you receive this week?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: Disharmony by Leah Giarratano

Title: Disharmony
Author: Leah Giarratano
Series: The Telling #1
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Published: May 23rd 2012
Source: Publisher for review

A psychopath... an empath... a genius. Three siblings who will save the world – or destroy it. They know nothing of each other. They know nothing of the Telling. But they’ll need to learn fast if they’re going to survive...

Disharmony was a book that sounded explosive and unique in theory, but underwhelmed me when things came down to business. I expected so much more from this mysterious Telling but was forced to wait for the sequel to see it in action. This first book very much felt like an introduction to the characters before their true problems would be revealed later on. Although I expected and wanted a lot more plot, I did enjoy meeting some of the characters who will be very important to this prophecy coming true.

The Telling is described as a prophecy which foretells three siblings stopping the disharmony in the world, the toxic emotions which have controlled our society for thousands of years. These children will have to be taught about their Calling, as their powers can used for evil without correct guidance, but their mother died during childbirth, leaving them separated and oblivious to the others' existences. Disharmony follows the teens' personal lives as they slowly begin to find each other. The book's concept truly had me bouncing off walls but, as I said before, Giarratano doesn't delve too deeply into the specifics just yet. She begins to lay the groundworks for what should be an exciting sequel and I have my fingers crossed that things will get more interesting! I want to know how they'll eliminate disharmony, who wants to stop them and why! I want to know more about their powers! Oh, I have so many questions...

The first character we meet in Disharmony is Luke Black, a boy who's in juvenile detention in Sydney. He's constantly harassed by the warden and his army of bullies for their entertainment, but one day makes an unlikely friend and ally in Zac, an athletic boy who's a skilled fighter and holds many secrets… I enjoyed the scenes which focused on them the most in this book, as Luke was an intriguing character and I was very curious about who Zac really was. The environment they were in also added to the suspense and anxiety I felt, as they weren't able to act freely, without the fear of being caught and punished. Introduce a random assassin from out of nowhere and things get...interesting.

Luke is the psychopath of the trio and doesn't feel any emotion - he had to learn how to fake it. His twin sister, Samantha, on the other hand, is an empath who lives in a Romanian gypsy camp and works as a tarot card reader. Her exceptional abilities at manipulating emotions and seeing the truth in people, not in the cards, make her a valuable asset to the team and sparks the interest of a gypsy king who has mysterious but obviously sinister motives. Sam definitely has the more confusing storyline of the two, and is more involved in the action. She's chased by ninja assassins and is also wanted by the gypsy king. I'm curious to see what comes out of this, given the information and clues that were left in this book. At the moment, they're all loose threads with no meaning! It was harder to keep interested in Sam's story, mainly because her character was not as developed as Luke's. She's surrounded by many other characters and problems, which took Giarratano's focus away from providing the "bonding time" with her that we were able to have with her brother.

So far, we've only properly met two of the three siblings. I'm looking forward to getting to know the other brother, the genius, as we get glimpses of him as the book comes to an end. That and the twists caught my interest and made me wonder what would happen next, but I'll have to wait for other opinions before I pick up the sequel to make sure that it's as good as I want it to be! I hope it is because the last few chapters of Disharmony put me in an "OMG" loop. Disharmony isn't a bad book. It just lacked the energy and excitement I craved from a storyline like this, as well as characters I genuinely cared about. I had some initial problems with the unnatural dialogue and repetitive "he said she said", but things eventually improved! All in all, this was an enjoyable and comfortable read.

What did you think of this? Are you planning on reading book 2?

Find Leah on Goodreads.
Buy Disharmony from Amazon, The Book Depository and Booktopia.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

Title: The Golden Lily
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #2
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Published: June 12th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students--children of the wealthy and powerful--carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.

Words will probably fail to convey just how flawless this book was. The Golden Lily manages to have everything we want in a book - characters we care about, a romance that drives us crazy, suspenseful mysteries and more! I'm not completely sure yet but this spin-off series might have overtaken the original in my eyes. The way I see it, we've still got the old characters PLUS new characters in a new setting with a new agenda. The thought of having four more of these books has sent me into heaven!

After the original series ended, everyone was eager to see Adrian be paired up with Sydney. The two are polar opposites in personality but share the same stubborn fire that we know will bring about a delicious passion in their relationship. The Golden Lily completely delivered on the intense Sydrian romantic tension and had me running laps around my room in frustration. So here's Adrian being completely adorable and pounce-worthy in a million ways I can't even explain, and there's Sydney being OBLIVIOUS TO IT ALL. She's the human equivalent of an alien who's been living on Mars her whole life. The I'm-into-you body language, conversations with not-so-hidden meanings and every other signal on the planet? They went completely over her head! *cries* Oh, Sydney! How many times did I feel like shoving you into Adrian's arms when he was putting himself out there for you to just ignore?

If things weren't confusing enough, there's a love triangle in this book. Oh yes. Oblivious little Sydney has "met her match" in Brayden, a nerd who even tops her book smarts but lacks the social smarts like she does. I found him sweet and cute at first but slowly…he began to grate on my nerves. I mean, really, his name should've clued me in on his dodgyness. He's all too practical to keep up with her fire, to love and treat her like she deserves! The two have zero chemistry and Sydney just doesn't realise that everything she needs is in Adrian. For a date, Brayden takes her on a windmill tour for goodness' sake! Mead compares the two boys throughout the book, drilling Adrian's superiority into our minds. Brayden does or says something ridiculous to Sydney and Adrian counters with something charming and sweet not long after. The two men are entirely different but, as the story progresses, I think Sydney begins to realise how one might be better than the other……………

As always, Mead's characters are magnificent. Sydney begins to creep out of her shell in The Golden Lily and does things she never thought she would do as a perfect and obedient alchemist. Her superiors constantly say how responsible she is but she finds that that's not the case at all. She's befriending the vampires she's been taught to fear, going on dates and developing feelings for people she shouldn't, beginning to practice forbidden magic, making decisions without permission and…generally just breaking a lot of rules. I knew she had all of this in her from the beginning and it was so exciting to watch her change and become this new, unpredictable person. I can only imagine that she will grow more and more with every book so I'm ecstatic at the moment!

Adrian's character is also given the growth and time he missed out on in the original series. He deals with a father who is always disappointed in him and that doesn't believe he can do any good. My heart was just crushed every time Nathan delivered a mental blow! Adrian tries so hard to be a good son and wants his dad to be proud of him but Nathan lets him down time and time again. Sydney doesn't realise it (although Adrian does!) but she's his support during these difficult times and tries her hardest to brighten him up afterwards. They made me melt with how perfect they were for one another and you just know that when they finally get together, they'll be stunning - hard to look at without fainting, stunning.

Many more things happen in this book than they did in Bloodlines. We have a mysterious society of possible vampire hunters roaming the city and this leads to attacks and kidnappings everyone's weary of. There are multiple suspects behind each event and we're not completely sure about them until the end! Dimitri, Sonya and Eddie are testing their blood to try and solve the puzzle of strigoi immunity. At the end of the last book, Sydney discovered that her blood was unpalatable to strigoi and this brings in a whole other question that we've yet to answer!

I officially have to shut up now. If you're not convinced that Adrian and Sydney are as sweet as toffee, YOU ARE A LOST CAUSE. The Golden Lily ignited something wild in me that the last few books of the Vampire Academy series seemed to lack and I have full faith that Mead will take us to breathtaking places again with the next four books. I had to stop myself from rereading this book as soon as I finished it, it was that good. Adrian has long been my favourite character since he was introduced in Frostbite and I could almost die from how good his character is now. This book ends on a CLIFFHANGER. I melted, cried and banged fists on tables. You've been warned.

Was this book amazing or what? Dying to get The Indigo Spell!! Who do you think is on the cover behind Sydney?

Find Richelle on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy The Golden Lily from Amazon, The Book Depository, Booktopia and Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Giveaway: 5 copies of Team Human!

Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn't mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It's up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity. On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.

I loved this book so much! It was hilarious and fun without being over the top ;) It definitely was not what I expected (better!) and you can read all about that in my review. You can check out my interview with Sarah and Justine while you're there too!

Thanks to Allen & Unwin, I have 5 copies to share with you all! This giveaway is open to Australia/New Zealand residents only and will end on July 18th. Good luck!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Review: Team Human + Author Interviews

Title: Team Human
Author: Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan 
Publisher: Allen & Unwin Australia
Published: July 2nd 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn't mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It's up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity. On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.

Team Human caught me by real surprise. After my initial hesitation at reading a vampire book that sounded heavy on the romance, I realised it was actually a parody of the paranormal insta-love that's not unusual to find in YA these days! We've all seen them before… And you know those awful books which try to be funny but fail? Well, Team Human certainly doesn't fall into that group. It had me in stitches and I was shocked by how witty Mel was! Full credit must go to the authors for providing me with such entertainment and I now know that I'll happily read more from them both in the future!

Mel Duan is the vampire-hating, rude and unsympathetic best friend of Cathy, a typical teenage girl who's fallen head over heels in love with Francis Suvarney. He's over 150 years old, silent, brooding, mysterious and chivalrous. Hmm, right... How very unique of him! Let's not forget that he's easily scandalised by the forward behaviour of modern females too! Cue the eye rolls now because Cathy and Francis get sickeningly sweet from here on out. Mel obviously feels the same, as she tries relentlessly to discourage their affections for each other but to no avail . Although Mel is overbearing at times, she has good intentions and it eventually became humorous and very justified. I love her! Brennan and Larbalestier do a wonderful job at poking fun at the over the top human/vamp relationship and were able to show us the not so ideal and glamorous side of it.

I really enjoyed the mysteries found in Team Human. The vampires in this book are traditional for the most part but there are a few fun changes that play an important part in the events that occur. As well as preventing Cathy from turning into a vampire (RISKY!), Mel's busy investigating the whereabouts of the principal's ex-husband. He supposedly ran away to be with a hot vamp but…what if that's not the case at all? Mel also thinks Francis is up to something shady, so many aspects of this book do overlap and we're left to wonder how they all relate to each other! The action amps up during the final section of the book but I found it to be too short-lived and the resolution too simple! However, it can be forgiven because of everything else that's great about the book.

During one of her stalk sessions, Mel finds herself in Francis's house and meets Kit, a human boy who was raised by vampires after being abandoned by his real parents and left for dead. His "mother" Camille is a badass cop and this trio of characters were my favourite to watch together. They had an amusing yet sweet bond with each other and the male banter…where do I start? For all that she preaches, Mel is completely oblivious to Kit's affection for her. I must have 'aww'ed a million times at his cuteness. He smiles whenever she giggles and always looks to please her. I obviously liked this pair, despite the fact that there was never really a romance shown between them in the book. Team Human doesn't focus on the romances themselves very much but the ending definitely leaves things open for interpretation! ;)

Overall, these two authors make a wonderful team and write extremely well together. I would've liked to have explored Mel and Cathy's friendship more, as well as between them and the boys, but Team Human isn't a book to take too seriously. It's hysterically funny and will put a smile on your face in the short amount of time it'll take you to fly through it! I bow down to the authors for their bottomless pit of jokes and willingness to create some seriously kooky characters, while still providing some heart-warming and more serious moments too. The book covers all the bases!

I'm giving away 5 copies of this book so hurry over to enter!

Find Sarah on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog
Find Justine on Twitter, Goodreads and her website.
Buy Team Human from Amazon, The Book Depository, Booktopia and Barnes & Noble.

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How would you describe Team Human in two words?

Actually - and maybe this is cheating! - I think 'Team Human' fits the bill pretty well. Scott Westerfeld came up with the title, and we loved it both because it conjures up the idea of paranormal romance (Team Edward, Team Jacob, Team Damon, Team Stefan, and so on) and also immediately says something different... what about humans, and friends?

You researched a lot about other vampires before writing this book! What was the most interesting thing you came across?

Oooh, lots of things. One of my favourites is vampires turning into mist and filtering through keyholes, which is a bit of a thing in vampire mythology--it made me want to write about super-successful vampire catburglars!

I also really liked a serial from the early 1900s called Varney the Vampire, in which Varney is like an ancestral pet. 'Don't mind the vampire hanging out on the ceiling pouncing on the maidens, he comes with the family silver...' And Justine made me read a book called Sabella by Tanith Lee, in which Vampire Men Are From Mars... and Vampire Women Are Also From Mars (All Vampires Are From Mars As It Turns Out).

Is there a specific trait or vampire stereotype that you hate seeing in books or films?

I like most things about vampires, but I have to say I don't really like vampires going out in sunlight. I'll put up with it (I love the Vampire Diaries, so I'm just like 'fine, magic jewelry, as you were, vampires') but I'd feel silly going to the beach with my vampire boyfriend. 'This is ridiculous!' I'd say. 'You're meant to be a creature of the night!' Presumably, he'd be like: 'Mai tai, baby?'

Also I just feel there have to be drawbacks to vampirism, or too many people would do it. Justine and I made it so vampires can't bear exposure to sunlight... and we came up with a few other issues as well...

Would you ever date a vampire or would you be the one warning your friends away?

I might do both! All vampires are not created equal. ;) I'd have some searching questions for a friend who wanted to date a vampire, like 'Does he have a good sense of humour?' and 'No details please, but from a scale of Chihuahua to Rottweiler, how bitey is he?'

And for myself, well, it'd be a question of personality. Consider how many different vampires there are around! Count Dracula (super old, castle in disrepair, many other wives in cellar), Count von Count (muppet), Count Duckula (duck), Count Chocula (chocolate-flavoured cereal), Angel, Spike, Lestat de Lioncourt, the Cullens, the Salvatore brothers (everybody has so many issues, and nobody even has the title of 'Count' to make up for it!)

As with ordinary dudes, it's tricky finding Mr Right. Or even Mr Bite Now.

Would you ever do a collaboration like this again? What were the best and worst parts about sharing the writing of this book?

Oh, maybe, maybe. The best part was having work show up in your inbox like magic, and giggling as you read it both because it was great and because that's living the dream... it felt like that story where a shoemaker wakes up and magical elves have made a bunch of shoes for him. MAGICAL ELVES ARE WRITING MY STORY! The bad bits were when we got into fights about what to do next, but in the end that made the story better... what went in was stuff we were passionate about, and had to argue passionately for.


Team Human is a very humorous book, much more so than I actually expected. Why did you decide to do a comedic take on the story, rather than a dramatic?

I'm surprised that you're suprised. Both Sarah and I always have humour in our books and Sarah's blog is well known for being one of the funniest blogs in the history of blogging. I've even written a flat-out comedy before, How To Ditch Your Fairy. There was no way a collaboration between us was not going to be a comedy. But that said I think there are some moving and dramatic parts of the novel. We've had several reports from readers who say Team Human made them cry.

Which character was the most fun for you to write and why?

I'm not sure I can answer that. I really loved writing them all. I love Mel's snark, Cathy's romanticism and strength, Francis' stick-up-his-bum-ness, Camille's super vampire cop coolness, Kit's goofiness. I loved writing Mel's parents and siblings. That's not a character in the book who wasn't fun to write.

How did you split up the writing of Team Human? Did you write in sections, alternating chapters…randomly? The transitions were seamless!

First we would plan what was to happen in a chapter. Then one of us would write it, send it to the other, who would read and comment on what needed to be changed. We would agree on the edits and plan the next chapter. Then the person who hadn't written it would do the edits and write the next chapter. We'd go back and forth like that. Constantly rewriting each other. At this point neither of us knows exactly who wrote what.

The romance between Cathy and Francis was hilariously dramatic, resembling that of Edward and Bella's from Twilight. Was that an intentional play? ;)

We were poking a bit of fun at all over-the-top, love-at-first-sight romances. We're not saying love at first sight doesn't happen but it's rare. Whereas in paranormal romances it seems to be the most common way people fall in love which, if you think about it, is a bit absurd. We decided to run with the absurdity.

I loved how you (mostly) stayed true to the traditional vampires. Why did you decide not to put your own spin on them like so many other authors?

I am insulted by your question! :-) We thought long and hard about vampire lore and are very proud of our two major innovations which we're pretty sure our own spin. Vampires who don't laugh are pretty rare. I haven't found any examples of it. (Though I admit I could have missed it.) And I'm pretty sure zombification happening when transformation into a vampire goes wrong is original to us. (Though again do let me know if I've missed someone else introducing that to vampire lore.)

*butts in* Oh Lisa, what a poorly worded question! I guess "mostly" was a cruddy explanation. Just to clarify, yes, indeed there are some great changes made to these vampires. *clapclap* I was thinking more along the lines of "they're unchanged in terms of their coldness, aversion to sunlight and food, etc." while writing my question and that's what..was not spun. LOL.

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Idiot moment aside, I really love these two. I think they're hilarious and I'll have to make time to check out their books later on in the year! And I may have to stalk this blog of Sarah's because I can't stop laughing and it's way past midnight now.........

Hope you guys enjoyed reading this interview! Make sure you get yourself a copy of Team Human or enter my giveaway if you're eligible! Have you read it? What did you think? :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

All Hail The Mail! (7)

All Hail The Mail will be posted weekly to showcase the books I've received for review! 
Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
Well, I loved Storm so I have no doubts that I will love the sequel just as much. Gabriel's my favourite Merrick brother and I can't wait to be reunited with the entire crew again! Thanks to Brodie's awesome yet horribly teasing review, I know I can expect some serious angst... Shall I go into hiding?
I should be watching SWATH today! I love the look of the movie and I'm hoping to be swept up in all of the badass fairytale goodness. I've never read a "screenplay to book" before should be interesting. They're likely to be quite similar, so I decided to spoil the book for myself rather than the movie ;) I love this cast <3 Charlize, Sam, Chris and Kristen make me fangirl! Especially Charlize.
Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins
I received the ARC a few weeks ago but I'm so glad to have a lovely finished copy! I love this cover and I prefer it over the US one. Can't wait to read this! I have my fingers crossed that I can get through all of my June books in July....
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
I've heard wonderful things about this book. It looks very intense and emotional.. Better save it for a rainy day ;)
Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent
I haven't read any books by Rachel before but I'm planning to remedy that at the end of the year! I'm interested in all three of her series and can't wait to have a Rachel-thon ;)
Thanks to Brodie, Harlequin and Hachette for the books this week!
What did you receive? Share your links in the comments! :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris

Title: Unravelling
Author: Elizabeth Norris
Series: Unraveling #1
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Published: May 1st 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Leaving the beach, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit head on by a pickup truck. And killed. Then Ben Michaels, resident stoner, is leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows Ben somehow brought her back to life… Meanwhile, Janelle’s father, a special agent for the FBI, starts working on a case that seems strangely connected to Ben. Digging in his files, Janelle finds a mysterious device – one that seems to be counting down to something that will happen in 23 days and 10 hours time. That something? It might just be the end of the world. And if Janelle wants to stop it, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets – and keep from falling in love with him in the process…

It doesn't happen very often but occasionally, a book will fall slightly short because of the insane hype surrounding it. I began Unravelling, expecting the best book on the planet and was sadly disappointed as a result. While it didn't ignite burning flames in my heart or get me building a shrine for it, Unravelling was undeniably an enjoyable sci-fi read that was entertaining from beginning to end. The characters are loveable and Norris does a wonderful job at slowly unfolding the plot, leaving us in suspense in the meantime.

Janelle Tenner is a summer lifeguard who's dating one of the most popular guys in school. Although gorgeous, she finds Nick annoying when he's surrounded by his jock friends and yearns for something more, a genuine love and closeness. I don't think she anticipated that it would come in the form of Ben Michaels, an untouchable "stoner" at school who she wakes up to after she's hit by a truck. Her life flashes before her eyes in her "final moments", but she eventually realises that they're someone else's memories, someone who's watched and loved her for a very long time. It becomes quickly obvious to us that Ben's feelings are deeper than he lets on - that aloof attitude doesn't fool us! - and I loved watching their relationship develop. It's sort of insta-love at first but eventually achieves that depth and authenticity. Like many couples, they're faced with issues of trust and are covered by a cloud of secrets. Ben's extremely sweet but he isn't one of my favourite love interests just yet...

I won't go into the details of the plot because it's constantly changing and full of twists, but Janelle is brought back to life after the crash and determined to find out how Ben did it. He's obviously reluctant to divulge his secrets and during her investigating, Janelle is thrown into the driver's seat of a race against time that could bring about the end of the world. A mysterious box with a countdown and an unknown result..? Well, like the mysterious dead bodies that are appearing left, right and centre aren't scary enough! I wasn't on the edge of my seat with the countdown, like I was in Everneath, but Unravelling is very engaging and will leave you wanting to know what happens next.

Janelle finds herself somewhat alone in this book. Almost every character can't be trusted. Not Ben, his best mates, her friends, her father, his friends, the FBI…NO ONE. We change our minds about their intentions and true loyalties every few minutes and it's very satisfying when we reach the final page. Finally, we're in the know and have most things sussed out! Of course, there are still questions left to explore but our minds are safe for now...

Overall, Unravelling is an impressive book that will be loved by many. My high expectations were my downfall but otherwise, this is a unique action-romance that definitely passes as a strong sci-fi. I'm not a huge fan of the genre but YA books are beginning to convince me otherwise this year! While otherworldly, there are multiple aspects of realism in Janelle's teen life that readers can easily relate to and the book really does have a great range of intensity and emotions. I can't wait to read the sequel!

I know, I'm the odd one out who didn't give it 8 out of 5 stars. I blame the magnificent reviews I read before this LOL.

Find Elizabeth on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her blog.
Buy Unravelling from Amazon, The Book Depository, Borders and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Title: Partials
Author: Dan Wells
Series: Partials #1
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Published: May 16th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out. Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what’s left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she’s not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

Where do I even begin? Partials ruffled my feathers so much, I'm surprised I have any left. I can't even pinpoint what exactly made this book brilliant, but I do know that it kept me up until 4am since I couldn't bear to put it down. Kira Walker is a 16 year old intern in the maternity ward, who has yet to see a newborn live for longer than a few days. No one has for years. When her friend becomes pregnant, thanks to the Hope Act which makes it mandatory to conceive when you're 18, Kira makes it her mission to find an impossible cure for RM. How will she succeed when so many experts have tried and failed?

Partials is an exciting and action-packed sci-fi read that I fell in love with immediately. Some may say it's slow to start, due to the detailed explanations, but I loved the world development. 11 years after the Break, it's 2076 and there are only 40 000 humans left. A violent rebel group has been born in response to the barbaric Hope Act and the citizens live in fear of a partial attack. Partials were engineered years ago to fight the humans' war, stronger and smarter than any man, before they turned against their creators and almost wiped out the entire world. Add in the RM virus and its mysterious link to the partials and we have one hell of a story. Wells doesn't shy away from the scientific aspect of sci-fi and I can honestly say that this is one of the most exciting books I've ever read, with its plentiful and heart-racing twists!

Unlike so many young adult books, Partials does not focus on the romance, nor does it try to create one in an obvious manner. Subtlety is key! In the beginning, Kira is already in an established relationship with Marcus Valencio and I enjoyed exploring their bond on multiple levels. I felt like I understood the two well as a couple, even in the short time that they were actually together. I loved Kira as a character! Just as a heroine should be, she's intelligent, brave, loyal and, dare I say, a little stubborn? I think many people will be impressed by the way she handles everything that's thrown at her in this book. Sure, she may sometimes rush into situations but you've got to admire her serious brains.

I'm going to be brief here because I don't want to spoil a single thing, but Kira takes it upon herself to kidnap a partial to study. They're terrifying creatures, as we know next to nothing about them, and I'm guessing I wasn't the only one who stopped breathing whenever Kira had to get close! The highlight of this book is definitely the partials themselves. They harbour many secrets and Kira's interaction with the one she catches is priceless. Don't even get me started on the crazy conspiracy theories that were flying around my head while reading! The partials constantly threw my feelings of disbelief, sympathy and excitement around in a tumble dryer, but there was always a stream of "OMG" looping through my mind.

I must reiterate how addictive the mysteries are throughout this book. Just when we think we've got it figured out, Wells hits us with another bombshell. Other times, we have many bits of information but just can't figure out how they all piece together! What's the key to solving the RM puzzle? Who are the true villains - the partials, the Voice or the government? Who can Kira trust? Partials is a genuine edge-of-your-seat read. Killer partials sneak around with their scary masks and had me screaming "RUN AWAY!" more than once! Wells is a genius and I am so looking forward to reading the sequel after the serious game-changing ending. A truly addictive read, Partials is not one to be missed!

Was this book fantastic or what? Are you excited to read it? ;)

Find Dan Wells on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and his website.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron Knight
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #4
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Published: November 2011
Source: Publisher for review
To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought. Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive. With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side. To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale. And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

I've always loved reading books with male narrators. Men are fascinating creatures and it's a breath of fresh air to step away from the usual swooning female leads - not that Meghan ever swooned. With Kagawa's decision to allow us into Ash's mind, we're finally able to understand a whole lot more about his behaviour and his past. Maybe we can finally unravel the puzzle that is Prince Ash?

If it's even possible, I fell even more in love with Ash after reading The Iron Knight. He was never fully open with Meghan and always had some sort of secret locked away in his heart. It was magnificent to see, first hand, how he lives his life and what he goes through every day. He torments himself in his mind and has many vulnerabilities, unbeknownst to others. Despite how much he thinks otherwise, Ash has a beautiful soul, and he proves it during his dangerous journey to the ends of the earth. Meghan is now the Queen of the Iron Realm, a place Ash can't step foot into as a faery. His love for her is so strong that he's willing to give up his entire being. He's going to become a human. If you ever wondered about the extent of his feelings for Meghan, he'll leave nothing to question after this book!

The perfect Iron Fey book would have Ash, Puck and Grimalkin in the same scene. The Iron Knight is filled with these. Three vastly different personalities clash and the characters play off each other in such entertaining ways, whether it be humorous or dangerous. Ash has yet to follow through with his promise to kill Puck and he has plenty of opportunities throughout the book. I loved spending time with these characters for the very last time. Away from the petty quarrels in their Courts, they're bare to our scrutiny and faced with many situations of life and death. They discover what's important to them and what they're willing to sacrifice for friendship and love. My heart? Spasming.

At times, this book was slow, but only because a lot of the story was happening in Ash's mind. The action doesn't really begin until the gang reaches the mysterious Testing Grounds, a place no one's ever come back out of before, but it's all very worth it. The Iron Knight is truly an epic journey, fueled by Ash's strength, determination and loyalty to Meghan. To become human, he's tested in the most vicious ways - few of them physically - that we worry about whether his state of mind will ever recover. Will he be able to cope with being human? Will his love for Meghan withstand the test of time and torture? Is he strong enough to handle any obstacle that's thrown at him? Although cruel, Ash is forced to examine who he really is and everything just gets mindblowingly personal.

As always, there are twists and shocks that change what we've believed for so long. The majority of the book is heartbreaking and will make you feel the most anxious you've ever felt. You scream for the characters to just HOLD ON for a while because it will have to get better eventually. This series has taken me to hell and back, and my heart ached when I turned the final page. I experienced this series in one continuous week of reading and I don't know what I would've done, had I been forced to wait between books like most fans. The ending of The Iron Knight was one of the best moments of the series and, again, my heart ballooned. You know that sickly happy feeling you sometimes get? Oh dear. I need to sit down.

Guys...are we excited about The Lost Prince? I know I am!! I can't wait to see what Ethan's like, now that he's all gorgeous grown up. 

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

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron Queen
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #3
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Published: September 2011
Source: Publisher for review

My name is Meghan Chase. I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it. This time, there will be no turning back.

After being exiled from Nevernever for choosing to remain in their forbidden relationship, Ash and Meghan prepare to return to Meghan's home, with Ash prepared to change his life in whatever way to be with her. He'll go to school, move with her to a big city and even marry her… “You might have to teach me a little about the human world, but I’m willing to learn if it means being close to you.”  Melting yet? It's such a shame that these nice plans are foiled by the fey! What's the iron king up to now?

Once again, the characters are thrown into the deep end and left to flounder. They discover secrets about each other that will make or break their relationships and everyone seems to be in a mean and stubborn mood for a while. I mean, Puck isn't afraid to flaunt the fact that he's planted his lips on Ash's girl! *gasp* However, the most romantic moment in this entire series, and maybe EVEERRRR, occurs in The Iron Queen. I fainted. And squealed. Giggled for a little while before rereading and repeating the entire process all over again. If you weren't sold on Ash before (seriously?) you definitely will be now……

This series is built on an accumulation of dramatic events and puzzling mysteries. Everything comes to a climax when suddenly all of the pieces fall together and things happen at the right place and the right time. The Iron Queen has the most action out of the four books and I loved seeing the two Courts unite to defeat the common enemy, an iron villain who threatens to suffocate Nevernever with his greed. Meghan is forced to take the front seat in this monumental battle and from an invisible teen to a fierce leader, she really has come a long way.

I was kept guessing about something or rather until the last minute. Kagawa even begins to get riddly on us and I've now decided that countdowns of any sort are EVIL. The action and mystery of this book was addicting and intense, earning cries of victory from me when things worked in Meghan's favour. The ending of this book took me by surprise and sort of rammed into me like a mack truck. It's the epic finale - physically, emotionally and spiritually - you always imagine and I felt that it was so fitting for the series. Kagawa left me craving more and I was very excited about getting one more spin with these characters. What a cliffhanger!

Favourite of the series or no? ;)

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