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!

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! :)
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