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

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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Valentine's Blog Event: Exclusive Scene - Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

So you may or may not have seen my excited tweet the other day to Tera Lynn Childs. She sent me an exclusive (ie. brand new, never before seen) scene from the Fins world and I melted into a puddle right then and there! I only read the series last November but I'm absolutely excited for the release of the third book, Just For Fins

If you haven't read Sweet Venom, also by Tera, you must! My favourite book of hers of all time ') Also eagerly anticipating the sequel to that this year!

A huge thanks to Tera for writing this for the event, injured neck and all! What a champ <3

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Worth Waiting For

"Where are we going?"

I wrap my arms tighter around Quince's waist as he speeds up.

He turns his head to the side. "It's a surprise."

I'm tempted to tickle his side—except that I don't want to wind up in a ditch if he jerks in response… he’s very ticklish. I already know it's a surprise. That's what he said when he pulled up in front of school after news team and said, "Have I got a surprise for you."

Because I love him and trust him, I hadn't asked more questions. I tightened my backpack straps, settled in behind him on Princess, and have been holding on for the ride ever since.
But it's getting to be a pretty long ride.

"Come one," I beg. "Give me a hint."

He shakes his head. "We're almost there."

I sigh and rest my cheek against his shoulder. If I know anything about Quince, it's that he can keep a secret. I mean, he hid his feelings for me for three years and I never suspected a thing. Now I'm just glad that things finally worked out and we're together.

I give him another tight squeeze.

"Here we go," He says.

I peer over his shoulder as the motorcycle veers off to the right, pulling off onto a grassy patch on the side of the road. There are lush green trees all along the road—thick and dark green. Through the trees I can barely make out a thin sliver of white sand on the other side. A beach. A very private beach. Not at all like the open, wide, public beach in Seaview. This is more like a secluded cove.

"What is this place?"

Quince lifts off his helmet. "My mom used to bring me here as a kid. It's my favorite spot on land."
I climb off the bike and hand my pink helmet to Quince. While he stores both helmets in the storage compartment under the seat, I wander a few steps toward the tree line. I can make out a faint path leading through the trees.

A moment later, Quince joins me.

"What's that?" I nod at the basket he’s carrying.

"This," he says, holding it up to inspection, "is the best part."

He doesn't explain. Just takes my hand and leads me toward the path. We walk, hand in hand, through the trees. It smells moist and fresh—like earth. Like land, like Quince. The opposite of the sea.
When we emerge onto the beach, I feel like I’m in paradise. Pristine white sand with no shells or kelp or anything at all littering the surface. I've only ever seen beaches this untouched farther south in the Caribbean.

"It's beautiful,” I whisper.

"I know."

Quince leads me to a spot out of view from the path, where there is nothing but sand, trees, sea and sun. And us. Just us and the nature around us.

"Wait here," Quince says.

He moves a few feet away and sets down the basket. Then he opens the top and pulls out a pretty blue blanket. I watch as he spreads the blanket out over the sand, his muscles bunching under his black tee. I sigh. Then he starts pulling other things out. Cans of pineapple Fanta. Plates. Soy sauce. Chopsticks.

"Chopsticks?" I ask.

He winks at me.

When he has almost everything out of the basket he finally waves me over. I sit down next to him on the blanket and look around at the elaborate spread he's laid out.

"This is wonderful," I say.

"Wait ‘til you see the crowning glory."

H reaches once more into the basket and pulls out a big, flat takeout container with a clear plastic lid and a red plastic bottom. I recognize that container.

"Is that what I think it is?"

Quince nods. "The kyukyoku platter from Mushu. I know it's your favorite."

I scowl. Quince really went all out with his. The secluded spot, the elaborate picnic, the sushi that I know he doesn’t really like. "What's the occasion?"

He shrugs casually and pops the top on a can of Fanta. He takes a sip.

"Are you breaking up with me?"

"What?" he says, choking on his drink. "No, of course not."

"Then why the extravagant setup?" I shake my head. "It's not like it's our anniversary or anything."

Quince shrugs, blushing. "It kind of is."

"What?" We've only been dating a couple of weeks, twelve days I think—although it's kind of complicated to pinpoint the exact date, what with the bond and the severing and a whole bunch of other variables. Still, this isn't like a landmark number, as far as I can calculate.

"Three years ago today,” he says, looking me straight in the eyes, “I knew I loved you.”

I blink. A lot.

I know he had feelings for me—from the very beginning—but love? I thought that had taken time.

“What do you mean?”

“You probably don’t remember,” he says, leaning back on his elbows. “We had American History together freshman year.”

“I remember.”

“You sat right behind Shannen,” he continues. “I sat right behind you.”

I can picture it like yesterday. He spent the whole year poking at my neck with the eraser end of his pencil. It drove me crazy.

“Three years ago today,” he says with gentle smile, “Shannen forgot her assignment at home.”

“Oh my gosh,” I say. “I remember that day. It has to be the only time she’s ever forgetting her homework. She was totally panicked.”

Quince nods. “You took out your assignment, erased your name at the top, and wrote her name in its place.”

“I—“ I shake my head. “I kind of remember that.”

“That’s when I knew,” he says. “I saw the goodness in your heart, the loyalty and selflessness in that moment, and I knew I loved you.”

I don’t know what to say. Something that had seemed so simple at the time—Shannen had helped me with the assignment anyway, so it was hardly fair for her to get a zero—had meant something so important.

I lean on my side next to Quince and trace my hand on his chest.

“I’m sorry it took me so long to figure things out,” I say. “We could have had so much more time—“

Quince catches my hand and pulls it up to his mouth. He presses a soft kiss to my palm. “You’re worth waiting for, princess.”
Beaming, I lean forward until our lips are a whisper apart. “So are you.”

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Wasn't that sweet, guys?! *swoons* Quince is so loveable. Are you in love with Tera's books or what?

If you're looking for another exclusive scene like this that'll melt your heart, be sure to check out the one Claire LaZebnik did for her Epic Fail couple! Brodie has a great character post by Rhiannon Hart (Blood Song) today so look out for that too ;)

*sniffles* It's February 29th! If you know how to read a calendar, you'll know this is the final day of the Valentine's Event. No more special posts! Oh, how I've had fun reading all of your comments and bugging Brodie every step of the way. Even when drafting posts got ridiculous after midnight and manual comment logging broke my fingers....I had a blast <3

Next week, Brodie and I will be saying our final thanks and announcing all of the winners for our giveaways! We have a ton of those, plus some character battles still open so be sure to get your votes in before they end at the beginning of March! Links to all past posts, giveaways and battles can be found here. We really hope you've all had fun :) Cheers!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Valentine's Blog Event: Guest Post - Elizabeth Fama

I've recently become a fan of mermaids. Not the pretty Little Mermaid kind but...anyway.  A timeless curse and starcrossed romance? *grabs* I want! Monstrous Beauty will be released in September but let's hope we can get some ARCs out, huh? ;)

Elizabeth's joined me today to speak briefly about the characters in her book. Do they look good? Which one are you most excited to meet? I think there'll be some great mythology in this one...

The image below is of a picture Elizabeth's daughter painted of Syrenka, the mermaid. Isn't she talented?! Apart from that, the cover is gorgeous too. So much pretty in one place...

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There are two love stories in the book, so it was difficult to choose one:
He's a naturalist and a born intellectual. We see snatches of him when he's a boy, playing in tide pools and sketching sea life. He's the son of a ship-builder, but he has little interest in boats or business. As a young man he's brilliant, and passionate about his research. He will only be attracted to a woman who's intelligent, quick-witted, and unaffected, despite the town girls who see that he's handsome and wealthy and throw themselves at him. When he finds the right woman, a life partner he knows is his equal, he'll fall hard.
She's a monster--not grotesque, but a "threatening force." The Old French root of "monster" is "portent, or sign," and everything about her is ominous. In her childhood she was wounded, abused, and anxious for escape. She's bright, wild, impulsive, and insatiably curious. She's a fierce lover, and loyal to a fault. His gentle acceptance and active mind will be everything she needs.
He's the person who loves her for exactly who she is. She's the person who will defend him to the death. If only the world would let them be.

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So is this book on your TBR? I sure hope so! Lisa T. Bergren's sharing an intense excerpt from her novella, Bourne, on Brodie's blog so be sure to check that out! I really can't wait to read her River of Time series :)

*gasp* Only one more day of this event to go! Minus the giveaway announcements, goodbyes and all... But STILL, this month has flown by. Thanks for sticking with us! Check out anything you've missed here.

Review: Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters

Title: Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters
Author: Meredith Zeitlin
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Published: March 1st 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny. Things start out great - her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it.

If you're looking for something genuinely funny, Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters will leave you thankful your life isn't as chaotic and impossibly disastrous as Kelsey's. Filled with laughs, rants and tears, this book will be the cherry on top of your syrupy sundae on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Prepare to journey through the horrors that is freshman year with Kelsey Finkelstein, who's as loveable as they come!

I never expected to love this book so much. I was expecting a light read with endless crack but Zeitlin has written something truly spectacular. As well as characters who are developed and all have significant roles in the story, there's a realistic serving of heartbreak and anger to balance the moments of hilarity that will quite literally have you laughing out loud. Immediately you'll fall in love with Kelsey's narration and be flipping through the book as fast as you can to see how her year ends! Gripping and 100% entertaining, this could-happen-in-real-life tale will charm you with it's vivacity and endearingness.

Kelsey's relationships are the central focus of this novel. Zeitlin has honestly constructed an amazing cast of characters, creating detailed and intriguing story lines for them all. None of the tiffs between Kelsey and her best friends are petty. They have issues we can all easily relate to on a mature level and the hurt will really jab you in the heart. Who knew to expect such horrifying twists and betrayals? Gah! Not to sound like a broken record but the characters and plot are ACE. It's been a while since I've read a book with such well-developed secondary characters! Add in Kelsey's embarrassing family….I'm in love.

Now, how can we have a high school story without a tricky romance? Kelsey's in love with the gorgeous Jordan Rothman and plans to stake her claim on the soccer player this year since his bratty girlfriend's out of the equation. No one expected another complication to arise.... Throughout this book, Kelsey discovers that life at fourteen isn't perfect and you'll always have someone waiting in the wings to mess things up for you. (Tip: Avoid the mean troll on your soccer team.) But when Hot Newspaper Guy gets caught up in the "Embarrassing Photo Situation", reluctant sparks fly and we have ourselves a romance ;) Gosh, I won't spoil and tell you about every single sweet/funny situation in this book so I guess you'll just have to pick it up yourself!!

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters deals with realistic issues that have honest depth and meaning. You'll come out of reading this feeling different, perhaps a bit worn out (the poor heart!) or in the mood to run and give your best friends a hug! I guarantee you'll adore every character you're supposed to and wish you had a quirky Kelsey for yourself. Despite how alive the humour brought me, I can't get over Kelsey's determination to make it through Hell, dealing with the unfortunate complications of being a teenager and a girl looking for love! Promise me you'll pick this book up because you will not regret it!

So in love with this book, guys! I read it in one sitting and was giddy after reading the first page <3
Find Meredith on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Freshman Year from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Valentine's Blog Event: Character Interview - Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

This is one of my all-time favourite books. I love it so much I go into fangirly hysterics just thinking about it! Veronica has some of the most amazing characters in this book. It isn't even the witty Aria or the completely wild and swoon-worthy Perry (we'll get to him later...), it's ROAR! Did you just smile? I know I do every time I say his name! It's got that...special something. Brodie and I do this strange thing where we try to out-ROOOOOAAAAAAAAAAR each other and get completely crazy in the process. You will definitely love him as much as the main couple ;)

So apart from the intriguing world and exciting storyline, Under the Never Sky is home to the one and only, Perry. He has enhanced senses of smell and sight - nothing will slip past him! Ugh, I love him in more ways than you can even imagine. I'll give you my life savings if you don't fall in love with him. *thud*

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You each held a lot of prejudice toward each other when you first met. Aria, you thought Perry was a vicious Savage and Perry, you thought Aria was sheltered and fragile. How surprised where you when you proved each other wrong?
Aria: (Laughs.) I think Perry made out better in your descriptions. By the way, I still think he’s vicious.
Perry: I’m still working on proving her wrong.

Aria, are there ever moments when you wish you could go back to your old life in Reverie where things were “perfect”?
Aria: Yes, there are lots of moments. I miss my friends, and I miss concerts, theater, sushi and clothes.
Perry: You have clothes.
Aria: (Gives Lisa and Brodie a knowing look.)

You and Roar share such a great friendship, Perry. Any cute memories you can share with us?
Perry: I don’t know where to start. We’ve been friends forever.
Aria: (Smiles.) He gets envious of Roar.
Perry: (Shakes head.) No, I don’t.
Aria: Yes, you do.
Perry: (Glances at the door.) I’m sure he’ll show up any minute. He hates missing out when people are talking about him.
Aria: Now that’s very true. Roar! Where are you?

What memory of each other will you always keep from your journey together?
(Aria and Perry look at one another.)
Aria: I’m not sure I want to answer that... Do you?
Perry: (Takes Aria’s hand.) No way. Too private.

Can you name one annoying habit about each other?
Aria: He snores.
Perry: She gets annoyed because I breathe too loudly when I sleep.

Perry...can you smell how much we love you? ( need to be jealous, Aria. You must understand it’s been hard for Perry to ignore our intoxicating scents!)
(Aria laughs.)
Perry: (Turns red. Rubs the back of his head.) I don’t know what to say.
Aria: Just say thanks.
Perry: (Grins.) Thanks.
Aria: Happy Valentines Day, girls. Thanks. This was fun!

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I seriously hope you've all read this or things are about to get nasty. *throws books from rooftop* Now! Now! Now! I honestly finished reading this one day late at night and just laid down, breathless. It's one of those gems ;)

Are you ready to get squealy again? Brodie has another character interview on her blog! *drum rolls* JULIE KAGAWA! Yes, shoo! Go have fun with Ash, Puck and Meghan.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Valentine's Blog Event: Publisher's Favourites & Giveaway!

Throughout my time of being a blogger, I've spoken with some of the most amazing people on the planet: Other bloggers, readers and, most importantly, the publicists who feed our addiction every week with shiny new things!

Brodie and I coaxed a few of them to talk about their favourite 2011 reads and the titles they're most looking forward to this year. Maybe something will catch your eye ;) Of course, they were all very busy during Christmas when we grabbed these from them, so a huge thanks to them for doing this! Not all publishers had the time to put something together but we're super grateful for the other ways they did contribute to this event!

You'll have noticed the same Aussie prizes popping up everywhere thanks to the bulk amounts we received from our publishers (you can thank the amazing authors for all of the INTL/US prizes!). Enter the giveaway at the bottom and tell me what you think of the books mentioned in the comments too!

Gabby from Harlequin Australia

2011 was a great year for me because I read so many INCREDIBLE YA books. Seriously. There were so many I barely know where to start. So I’m going to try to collect my thoughts and stop flailing so I can give you a proper overview.

In 2011, I read some amazing debut novels and the standout was definitely Saving June by Hannah Harrington. It’s been so long since I’ve read a contemporary teen novel (like honestly, SO LONG. I think the last one I read was FOREVER by Judy Blume when I was in Year 2. Great book but I would NOT recommend it for 8 year olds! Sadly, it was next to the Babysitters Club so I thought it was the same kinda thing…ANYWAY back to the point). I loved the road trip and the music that they played and the journey that Harper went on (physical AND emotional – hello HSC English). Jake Tolan was beautiful and honestly one of the best YA heroes I’ve read. Their relationship was difficult and complicated but oh-so-worth it. It was just so refreshing to read after a lot of paranormal releases.

But there were a couple of paranormal books that I adored. The main one would be The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa.
“My name is Ashallyn'darkmyr Tallyn, third son of the Unseelie Court.”
SWOON. Just his name gives me shivers. Ashallyn’darkmyr *sigh*.
I loved this book. There was so much anticipation and it just exceeded everything I could have ever dreamed of. Ash was so brave and determined and romantic and hot and courageous and good-looking… But seriously, it’s also the perfect love-story because he is going through hell to be with the girl he loves. The world building in this series is mind-blowing – and I’m so so SO excited for Ethan’s story (coming late 2012).

Another book that I adored (it’s so hard keeping this list down but I’m forcing myself to keep it short and sweet) was The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross. Oh. My. God. This book. STEAM PUNK! I didn’t even know I loved steam punk till I read this. I loved Finley’s kick-ass style and the love-triangle between her, Griffin and Jack Dandy. Jack was my favourite with his cockney gentleman ways. And every time he said “Treasure” I actually melted.

As for a non-Harlequin book, I read Delirium by Lauren Oliver and ADORED it. It’s probably a little weird that I’m talking about it on Valentine’s Day (since love is actually considered a disease) but it’s also really sweet and romantic (and terribly dangerous) that love creeps up regardless in a world where the government tries to thoroughly eradicate it. On that note, I need to find the sequel…

As for 2012 there are A LOT of books I am excited for. Hannah Harrington has another book coming out called Speechless and if possible, I loved it more than Saving June. It was really topical and issuey (not a word but don’t care) and BRILLIANTLY written. I don’t want to give too much away so all I’ll say is keep an eye out for it.
A few others are:

  • The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa – because Julie is queen and can do no wrong! Post-apocalyptic zombie vampire novel with a surprise romance? Yes please!
  • New Girl by Paige Harbison – surprisingly dark, gritty retelling of Rebecca by Daphe De Maurier (but a little creepier). Brilliant
  • Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross – Finley Jane and Griffin go to New York. Need I say more?
Okay, I’m stopping now or we’ll be here forever! There are some truly fantastic books coming out and I honestly love them all so please, READ THEM!! Thanks for having me, guys.

Claire Craig, Children’s Publisher, Pan Macmillan Australia

Favourite Romances of 2011

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Ah, Lucy and Ed – circling art, and each other, in the long, mean, night. Backdropped by poetry and graffiti, darkness and light, Cath Crowley weaves us into one of the most poetic romances of 2011.

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
Estelle, the girl next door, may have taken a few pages to fall for fourteen year old nerd-boy Dan Cereill, but we certainly didn’t. Smart, funny, vulnerable Dan stumbled feet-first into our hearts as soon as we read his list of Six Impossible Things. And for one of the most tender reading moments of 2011, see pg 260.

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Waverly loves Kieran; Kieran loves Waverly. Until their futures are blown apart.
I think I want these star-crossed lovers to be together. But then there’s brooding, unpredictable Seth... Find out what happens next in Spark, being published in August 2012.

Leah Channells, Publishing Assistant, Pan Macmillan Australia

Romances To Stay At Home For In 2012

Winter’s Light by M.J. Hearle
I've fallen in love with Winter and Blake all over again in Winter's Light. The raw emotion that M.J. writes with kept me wrapped in this book from beginning to end. The bond between Winter and Blake is so strong, their love so pure. I found myself on the verge of tears and gasping with each new twist. Clear your schedule for 2012: this is one novel that will embrace you to the very last line.

Sonia from Bloomsbury Australia

The best upcoming romance that I’ve read so far for 2012 is Fracture by Megan Miranda - though the book is technically more of a thriller than a romance, there is a really romantic side to it, which had me pretty much swooning by the end - you will see exactly what I mean when you read it. 

Now, I have to confess (and I’m rather embarrassed to admit this) my favourite romance of 2011 was Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance – it’s a total guilty-pleasure read!

Brodie has more publisher thoughts so check that out!

Are we all still alive? Gabby never fails to send me into hysterics with her adorable love of books. She really is one of my favourite people on the planet! <3 She's going to Germany next week for a year so everyone, send her virtual hugs and kisses. *sniffles*

 But moving on, Brodie and I would like to give a HUGE thanks to all of the publishers who donated prizes to this event. They were all so generous! A special shout out must be given to Hachette Australia, however, who donated 100 books. No, that wasn't a typo. Two zeros. We and the Australian reading community thank you so much for your delicious Date A Book prize packs! <3

As I mentioned before, these publishers were all very generous so we have a few "left-over" books to give away. Nothing too hard ;) Fill out the form and you could win the remaining:

2 UK Winners
2x Immortal City ARCs by Scott Speer

2 AU/NZ Winners
2x Faery Tales & Nightmares by Melissa Marr
2x Forgotten by Cat Patrick & heart shaped post-it notes

2x Hachette Date A Book Packs containing:
The Gallagher Girls series - Ally Carter (all 5 books)
The Violet Eden Chapters - Jessica Shirvington (first 3 books)
A Witch in Winter - Ruth Warburton
Heaven - Christoph Marzi

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Valentine's Blog Event: Teaser - The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

I'm a HUGE fan The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross. I think it was my first steampunk and I just fell in love with the charismatic characters and rich world! I'm in my happy place just thinking about it.

How can you not adore the fierce Finley, gentlemanly Griffin and......Cockney Jack? Okay, that last one's a bit questionable but I must admit he is charming... Just a little. Even with the accent. *nods* I'm very excited to see how the relationships develop in The Girl in the Clockwork Collar! Will we see a love triangle? OOH... Either way, it'll be fantastic to jump into this world again <3

Below is a teaser that stopped my heart, made me giggle and gasp. New readers of this series can read safely so enjoy!

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Griffin closed the door behind him and quickly crossed the corridor to knock on the one opposite. He raked a hand through his hair as he waited, then he heard the sharp clunk of the bolt and the heavy wood  opened.

"You should have asked who it was," he cautioned. "I could have been anyone."

Finley smiled as she pulled the door fully open. She looked as tired as he felt. Still, she was the prettiest girl he'd ever seen. "I knew it was you. I heard you leave your room."

Of course she had, she had that bloody sensitive hearing of hers.  She was more than capable of defending herself, too. He just worried about her. She was far too reckless and confident at times. It would kill him to see her get hurt.

He pushed the thought to the back of his mind as she stepped back  to allow him inside. It was set up much like his own, only with a different view, as her windows overlooked the Street.

"I thought maybe you might be interested in taking a walk," he said, glancing around the room. She had already opened her luggage and begun unpacking. It was a little disconcerting, seeing her underthings, even though they were stacked in an open drawer. He looked away. “Those  are lovely flowers."

Finley glanced at the bouquet of cream tea roses on the dresser. "They were here when I came in. I assumed they were part of the d├ęcor."

"I don't have any in my room." He took a closer look. "There's a card." He plucked the folded card stock from the blooms and offered it to her.

Frowning, Finley took it. "Perhaps it will tell us who they belong to." But as soon as she opened the card, Griffin knew the answer. She looked surprised, pleased and perturbed, all at once.

"They're from Dandy, aren't they?" He didn't really need her to respond. Who else would send her flowers? Not him, obviously.

She nodded, clearly bewildered. "How did he even know where to find  me?"

Griffin shrugged and tried to look as though he didn't care. "It would be easy to ascertain that we had left and for where. Then all he had to do was contact hotels."

"Still, I don't know why he'd bother wasting the time."

"Don't you?" Griff studied her face closely. "Surely you know he has feelings for you."

Finley blushed. "We're friends."

As he ran one of his fingers along the petal of a rose, Griffin's mouth twisted into a bitter smile. "Perhaps you ought to enlighten Mr. Dandy as to that."

"Do you believe I've led him on?"

He choked on a bark of laughter. "You spent the night at his house.  Could you blame him for making assumptions?"

Hands fisted on her hips, Finley glared at him. "And I live with you. What assumptions have you made, Your High and Mightiness?"

He should have stayed in his room. "None. I know better then to assume anything where you are concerned."

Instead of placating her, it only made her frown deepen. "What's that supposed to mean?"

Griffin shrugged. He couldn't win. "Nothing, Finley. It means nothing. I'm sorry I bothered you. Good night."

He moved to the exit and had just wrapped his hand around the brass knob when a hand slapped flat against the door. He turned the knob and pulled, but the door refused to budge—she was that strong.

Slowly, Griffin turned his head toward her, his temper and his power rising. The runes tattooed on his neck and shoulders to help him focus his abilities warmed and tingled. Only Finley had the ability to get under his skin like this. She made him think and act like an idiot.

"Don't make me blow this thing off its hinges," he said, voice low.

Her eyes sparkled with disbelief, taunting him. "You wouldn't."

"I would. Not like I can't afford to replace it."

"Where would you expect me to sleep in the meanwhile?"

"I'm sure I can think of someplace." Yes, he could. As soon as he said it, he wished he could take it back. Heat crept up his cheeks.

Finley's lips parted on a soft gasp, and he noted with some pleasure that her cheeks darkened as well. He also noticed that she did not immediately drop her hand from the door.

Her other hand, however, came up to touch his face. Her fingers were cool against his cheek. It took all of his strength, but he wrapped his hand around hers and pulled it away. "I care about you, Fin. More than I should probably admit, but I'm not going to share you or fight for your affection." Then—because he couldn't help himself—he kissed her fingers.

"Good night, Finley." He opened the door and stepped over the threshold. When the door clicked shut behind him, Griffin tried not to be too disappointed that she hadn't tried to stop him.

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*FLAILS* Oh that was good, wasn't it?! I cannot wait to get my hands on this. I'll be stalking Harlequin in wait of my review copy. *will possibly die if she doesn't read it soon*

Over on Brodie's blog, you can check out Katie Kacvinsky's brilliant guest post! She's the author of First Comes Love, which I'm looking forward to reading too.


Have you entered our Scavenger Hunt (Part 2) Giveaway? This is my last letter so after you've grabbed Brodie's you can head over to enter the form! Good luck with unscrambling the letters. Maybe your name will be the one drawn out the win the yummy prize ;)

Enter our Comment Giveaway if you haven't already and check out the full event schedule while you're there!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Valentine's Blog Event: Guest Post - Syrie James

Forbidden romance...special abilities... danger...  COLOUR ME CURIOUS. I absolutely adore the sound of Alec and Claire. What about you? I've yet to read Forbidden by Syrie and her son, Ryan, but I'll get to it one day! Give me a few more free hours during the day?

For the event we got the two of them to talk about their new book. Want to know what it's about and what kind of romance you can expect to find? Check it out! Very fascinating ;) 

I'm so glad this romance will have some good development. Can we all agree on shooting insta-love to death? *shudders*

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A New Take on Angels and Teen Romance

by Syrie James and Ryan M James

Syrie James, known for her critically acclaimed historical and romance fiction, has ventured into new territory with her latest novel, which she co-wrote with her son, Ryan.

A page-turning tale of wit, fantasy, pop culture, mystery, and paranormal romance, Forbidden has been getting critical raves. Described by The Sagacity Quest as "5/5… an amazing book… brilliant… surprising, and a fantastic read," and by Sophie Jordan, author of Firelight, as "beautifully written! Romantic and filled with delicious tension!", the novel will appeal to readers of any age or gender–or any genre!

Forbidden: what’s the book about?


Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now, and she’s desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there’s no way she’s going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she’s been having or the creepy warnings that she’s in danger.

Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn’t factored Claire into his plans. . . .

Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire’s unusual powers is revealed and it becomes clear that her entire existence is prohibited, how far will Alec go to protect her?

The Romance: what you can look forward to.

Forbidden is incredibly romantic—but the main characters don’t fall instantly in love. Many books and movies glaze over the most important part of any developing relationship: why the characters fall in love. We believe there’s no such thing as true love at first sight (often referred to nowadays as “insta-love”), however, attraction at first sight is totally real.

Before two people can love each other, they have to get to know each other. The things they have in common—and the things they admire about each other—will draw them together, and the things they disagree about become interesting topics for debate. They have to respect and love each other for who they are and what they do, not just because they’re good-looking, exciting, or… smell good.

In Forbidden, we tried to create the romance with all this in mind. Alec is attracted to Claire the minute he meets her—for a variety of reasons—but he’s not head over heels in love with her right away. Meanwhile, Claire doesn’t even like Alec at first. She’s more interested in her crush of two years, the school heartthrob, Neil.

As Alec’s feelings for Claire intensify throughout the story, it takes a while for her to come around, and realize that her feelings for him are radically changing and deepening, and are far more intense than anything she ever felt for Neil.

We get to watch Alec and Claire fall deeply in love over conversation, sharing common interests, and learning about each other… not just staring at each other with intense passion.
They love the same music. He’s never eaten pizza—or, for that matter, anything fried, caffeinated, or high in sugar content! How did he manage to save her and her friends from certain death? What exactly are Watcher Angels? And why does that mean Claire’s life is in jeopardy?

It was our intention to allow the characters to be teenagers, but show that they’re also capable of thinking, reasoning, and acting like adults, and interacting with maturity when it comes to relationships, problems, and crises—especially when it comes to romance.

The Stakes: Angels, Action, and Forbidden Romance

We also wanted to play with the concept of angels—to strip it down to its basics and rebuild it, incorporating mythology from across the globe. In our world, every hero and creature of legend can trace its roots back to angels. Every angel and angelic descendant has a paranormal ability or two, that rivals any mutant superhero or Kryptonian refugee.

When Claire and Alec discover that the truth behind her newfound psychic powers is directly related to that very mythology, he realizes that the laws of his kind forbid their relationship. With all the dangerous forces gathering around Claire—a were-creature, a trio of fallen angels, strange psychic messages from a mysterious source, and people who are not what they seem—will Alec stay to help protect her, even if he can’t be with her? Can they find a way to stay together? We hope you’ll read Forbidden and find out!

Check out an excerpt from Forbidden. And please LIKE our new Forbidden facebook page!

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Do we love the sound of Forbidden?! Hell yes! I can't wait to read this :) Angels, action and forbidden romance - sounds pretty darn good to me.

Are you a fan of Rebecca Lim and her Mercy series? Check out her guest post on Brodie's blog!

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