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!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review: Endless by Jessica Shirvington

Title: Endless
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Series: The Violet Eden Chapters #4
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Published: August 28th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Angels are real. They aren't always kind. Violet Eden is certain of all this because she is Grigori - part angel, part human. She has felt the influence of both light and dark. When Hell unleashes its worst, Violet must embrace every facet of her angel self to save the people she cares about and the world as she knows it. But death is not the worst thing that Violet will face. For her, the endless question 'Can love conquer all?' will finally be answered.

Warning: Mild spoilers in the first two paragraphs if you haven't read the previous book, Emblaze. If you need a push to start/continue this series, I strongly suggest you read the last two paragraphs!

Up until now, we've believed that Violet's mother signed her daughter's human life away in exchange for a life of her own in Heaven. After Phoenix used the Exile Scripture to release Lilith from Hell in Emblaze, Evelyn has magically returned, and Lilith has since been busy using the Grigori Scripture to kidnap children who are destined to become Grigori. As if things couldn't get worse, Violet is summoned to the Academy for her formal Grigori assessment in New York, where Lilith and Phoenix are conveniently lurking.. Get ready for the most epic book yet, as our favourite characters tackle a multitude of tricky obstacles.

First of all, the focus of family in this book was great. In the first three, things are very much focused on Violet's secret life, while her father is absent and left in the dark. In Endless, the gang are forced to reveal the truth to James with Evelyn's surprise return. One of the best things about this book was Violet's relationship with her parents. Everything Violet believed about her mother is challenged, but the thought of admitting that her anger and bitterness all these years was misguided is just too painful to bear. James has spent many hard years dealing with Evelyn's "death" and this bombshell could be one too many for him. Sides are chosen, emotions are toyed with… When will these guys get a break?!

Violet and Lincoln have been fighting their feelings for what feels like years now, but there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel for them in Endless. Although Grigori partners aren't allowed to fall in love because it will weaken them and risk their lives, there's now implications that their bonded souls will make them stronger. Endless questions aside, the romance was AMAZING. They let go more than they ever have before and give us some delicious scenes as a consequence. There's also a constant inkling of hope now, hope that they may finally be able to be together.

Aside from Lincoln and Violet, Phoenix is my favourite character. For multiple reasons, it broke my heart to see so many glimpses of a good Phoenix while Lilith was behind him, pushing his hand to do terrible things he wanted no part of. With every bit of help he gave Violet and genuine exchange of emotion they had, I died just a little. Although he's done so before, he truly proved in Endless that he honestly loves and would make sacrifices for her. (After one scene, I wanted to crawl away, cry and die. You'll know what I'm talking about when you read this book!)

To put it simply, this book was perfection and it's impossible for me to be happier that there'll be two more books in this series. Three or four wouldn't have been enough with these magnificent characters.  I can truthfully say that every book in this series is better than the last so if you liked Embrace at all, don't you dare stop reading this series! For readers out of Australia, be patient. It's so worth it! In two words: MY EMOTIONS!! There's always something happening in Endless. Everything is captivating and Shirvington delivers one shock and revelation after another. When I'm not holding my breath from the intensity, I'm tearing up and attempting to hold my heart together. Shirvington's writing has never been stronger. How can you not be in awe of how easily she juggles tense fight scenes with ones of friendship, tender love, and pain and sacrifice?

Endless will keep you guessing until the very end. I don't think I've been shocked into silence so many times in one sitting. The last few chapters of this book…you'll be sweating bullets guaranteed. With such an evil antagonist as well as mystery surrounding what will happen to the main characters, it's a given. Fair warning, the ending is brutal. We're put through the ringer for so long and by the end, BOOM. Unbelievable. Is the human body equipped to handle this?!

I know. A long, gushy, nonsensical review. But you must read this series. MUST.

Find Jessica on Goodreads, Facebook and her website.
Buy Endless from The Book Depository and Booktopia.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review: Once by Anna Carey

Title: Once
Author: Anna Carey
Series: Eve #2
Publisher: Harper Collins #2
Published: July19th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

For the first time since she escaped from her school many months ago, Eve can sleep soundly. She's living in Califia, a haven for women, protected from the terrifying fate that awaits orphaned girls in The New America. But her safety came at a price: She was forced to abandon Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. When Eve gets word that Caleb is in trouble, she sets out into the wild again to rescue him, only to be captured and brought to the City of Sand, the capital of The New America. Trapped inside the City walls, Eve uncovers a shocking secret about her past--and is forced to confront the harsh reality of her future. When she discovers Caleb is alive, Eve attempts to flee her prison so they can be together--but the consequences could be deadly. She must make a desperate choice to save the ones she loves…or risk losing Caleb forever.

Eve hasn't seen Caleb for the three months she's lived in Califia, and although the other women tell her she needs to forget about her past life, he's all she can think about. But when she follows a lead to find him, she walks into a trap and is hauled into the City of Sand where she's introduced to a world she could never have imagined and told a secret that will completely change her life. While struggling to live with this new discovery and the consequences it brings, she's able to find solace in the man she was looking for all along, even though he's now a wanted man in hiding. I loved Once and found it even more addictive than Eve. Things are more dangerous and crucial than ever before, and this sequel will have you salivating for Rise!

The setting we're placed into has high potential for action and will keep you in suspense for the duration of the novel. Unfortunately, I can't exactly explain this (and several other things) since it involves a big spoiler. I will say though that I loved this twist. It was a great reason for why the King was so desperate to have Eve and the rest of the things that came with this twist were so juicy and complicated. Twist aside, I enjoyed the variety of people living within Sand City. While some were grateful for the King's work, some were obedient but quietly unhappy, while others were outrightly so because he was going to conquer other colonies instead of restoring the Outlands as he promised. A common factor between them? They've been brainwashed by the King's lies, which ends up putting Eve and Caleb in a difficult situation...

In this sequel, Eve and Caleb were unbelievably sweet. I loved the tone of their relationship and Caleb never failed to make me smile! Both characters proved to be strong and determined, however they were incredibly reckless on several occasions when sneaking away to meet each other. I could hardly believe that they'd take such risks and you just knew that getting caught would be inevitable. It was just a matter of when! This was a big element of the story, as plans were always in motion to further the work of the Trail. Would they be caught before they could carry out an important step? I felt very tense reading this novel, just knowing that the other shoe could and would drop at any time, most likely, the worst time!

Often, authors use their second books as a bridge, where nothing of importance really happens and the story just prepares for events to come in the third book. Once certainly doesn't suffer from boring-second-book-itis. Instead, the amount of action and intensity of the plot increased! The story becomes more developed as characters are put in more interesting situations, and the final third of the story will have you leaping up to your feet and shaking your fists. I was stuck between a mixture of disbelief and anger. Nothing in this world is fair! But I will admit, it sure did make for an entertaining story...

This is a difficult review to write, since many things that should be said can't because it involves the spoiler. But trust me when I say that this plot is wonderful and will hold your attention from beginning to end. I was nervous going into it, not knowing what to expect, but all of that worry was completely unwarranted. I have high hopes for Rise, seeing as Once ends at a truly exciting point. There are so many possibilities for what could happen next!

Who's read this sequel and what did you think? Was it better than Once?

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

Saturday, January 19, 2013

All Hail The Mail! (12)

The first lot of books are the review copies I received this week, and the second lot are the books I bought from The Book Depository. I'll be catching up with 2012 books I missed throughout the year, starting off with sequels ;)

Night School: Legacy by C.J. Daugherty
I was shocked by how much I enjoyed the first book of this series. I'm desperate to return to this world and see what my favourite characters are up to this time! If you haven't read these books yet, I strongly suggest you do so now!

Rise by Andrea Cremer
Rift was a fabulous read, minus the Eira POV scenes... Fingers crossed that this book is just everything I loved about the previous!

Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
No words needed. Almost everyone on Earth and Mars loved Under The Never Sky and I'm 110% sure that I'll love this one just as much or more.

Hooked by Liz Fichera
I have a strange fascination with stories where chicks play sports on men's teams. I've seen baseball, football, soccer and basketball...but golf. That's a new one! I was really excited when I first heard about this novel. The reviews at the moment aren't stellar but I still hope it doesn't disappoint!

When We Wake by Karen Healey
Another one with a great concept. I haven't read many books involving reanimation, but this one sounds like it has a lot of potential.

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Although the book itself was wonderful (and received a high rating from me), I was really disappointed by the romance and Juliette as a character. I disagree with so many things she did... Maybe I'll dock another half star later on when I get to reviewing it... *needs to ponder*

Prodigy by Marie Lu
Can you see the drool leaking from my mouth yet? I'm desperate for more Day and June! If this is as good as Legend... *faints* My weak little heart can't handle it.

Disharmony: The Laeduin by Leah Giarratano
I really didn't like Disharmony that much so I am quite reluctant to continue this series. I think now is a time where I'll be a little mean and let my fellow Aussies read it first LOL.

Endlessly by Kiersten White
I've always loved this series. Kiersten's such a comedian and her characters are very easy to love. I'm really looking forward to reading this final book!

Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Well, it's no secret that Daemon and I are soul mates from another life. I am so ready to be charmed by this handsome devil all over again!

Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I was told last year that I would be receiving an ARC of this but strangely enough, it never arrived. Cue immense disappointment. Since I only returned recently, I missed out on an Apollyon ARC too because they'd all run out by the time I got here! Cue indescribable disappointment. I'm really not used to missing out on ARCs of this series and having to wait for release LOL.

A Fractured Light by Jocelyn Davies
I'm not sure what to expect from this sequel but I will say this: I hope the love triangle doesn't go out of control. I vaguely remember the main character bouncing between the two guys before... Hopefully she's on her way to making up her mind and not thinking about them both 24/7.

Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs
Sweet Venom was another book I was really surprised by. For me, it was practically perfect and I loved every little thing about it. Can't wait to read this sequel!

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
"Hey, didn't I just see this book......" Why yes you did. But I had to buy myself the US hardcover edition to match the previous book! Now isn't Perry just looking fiiiiiiiine?

Tiger's Destiny by Colleen Houck
Give me more Ren and Kishan! My body is ready. I remember the previous book left us at a nail-biting cliffhanger. I really hope this book is "epic", considering the first three have been building up to this! Or perhaps Colleen's saving that for the final book.............

Heaven by Alexandra Adornetto
It doesn't seem like this series has the biggest fans, but I love Bethany and Xavier. If their relationship is too sweet and lovey-dovey, I either don't notice or don't care. (It's like sometimes how insta-love doesn't bug you in a book when you usually HATE it.)

Thank you to Hachette, Harlequin, Allen & Unwin and Penguin for the review copies!

Very excited about the books I have waiting here for me! What did you think of them?

What did you receive in your mailbox this week? 
Leave a comment and let me know!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young

Title: A Want So Wicked
Author: Suzanne Young
Series: A Need So Beautiful #2
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Published: July 7th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Elise is a normal seventeen-year-old girl until the day she wakes up in a desert park, with no idea who she is. After that episode, her life takes a bizarre turn. She’s experiencing unexpected flashes of insight into people’s lives—people she’s never met before. Strangers frighten her with warnings about the approaching Shadows. And although Elise has never had a boyfriend, she suddenly finds herself torn between two handsome but very different young men: Abe, the charming bad boy whose effect on her both seduces and frightens her, and the mysterious Harlin, who’s new to town but with whom Elise feels an urgent, elemental connection—almost as if they are soul mates. Now Elise begins to question everything about her life. Why do these guys both want her so desperately? What are the Shadows? Why does the name Charlotte inspire a terrifying familiarity? And who is Elise, really?

Elise Landon doesn't recognise the blue-eyed blond she sees in the mirror. Of course, this is all just a dream...until she finds an angel figurine under her pillow, one that we know belongs to Charlotte Cassidy. From A Need So Beautiful, we're familiar with Young's world in regards to the Forgotten, Shadows and Seers but A Want So Wicked still manages to be full of suspense, as we're eagerly waiting for Elise to find all of the pieces of the puzzle. Although this novel was darker and delved deeper into the characters and plot, I still found myself preferring the first. It had something extra special but A Want So Wicked is truly no less addictive.

Elise's family is a real highlight of this novel. Although they're worlds away from each other in terms of personality, they're a tight knit unit and full of love - her father's "little tribe", as he calls it. Lucy is Elise's older rebel sister who is constantly getting into all sorts of unknown trouble, sometimes with Elise's help. Her dad is a protective pastor who reinforces an 11pm curfew, but can talk boys with his girls and is all around very hip. He's level-headed and a great supporter of his daughters, but also shows his vulnerable side when he questions himself as a single dad after losing his wife to cancer ten years ago. I cherished all of the father-daughter moments. They were perfectly sweet and balanced out the dark supernatural elements of the novel wonderfully.

Elise is an easily likeable character. She's the good girl who had lots of friends in school and is kind to everyone, especially so now with her Need kicking in. Not only does she feel compelled to help strangers after seeing their lives play out like a movie in her mind, she sees memories of her past life as Charlotte and visions of Onika's life. Her discovery of her destiny was even better than Charlotte's, but only because it was two-tiered. She's (unknowingly) learning things for the second time and things are a lot more complicated and mysterious this time around. She must also race against the clock as Shadows begin chasing after her Light.

Now, her two love interests, Abe and Harlin… What can I say? Everyone fell in love with Harlin in A Need So Beautiful, the man who was so devoted and in love with our beautiful Charlotte but had to let her go for the greater good. Initially, he was heartbroken and vulnerable, still damaged from his loss 9 months prior. In this second book, he's drawn to Elise (no surprise there!) but fights his feelings because he's still in love with Charlotte. He swore that he would find her again, but what he doesn't know is that he already has.  His relationship with Elise was exciting and reminiscent of the effortless ease he shared with Charlotte, and once again, he'll make you giggle, swoon and fall in love ALL OVER AGAIN. Their flirty banter with her shy innocence was just perfect. Abe, on the other hand… *SMACK* While he was gorgeous and charming to begin with, you just knew he'd be bad news later on... He showed glimpses of his dark side quite often, something Elise only picks up subconsciously, but we were forced to wait for the big reveal… Torture, I tell you!

I really enjoyed the ending of this novel. It kept us tense and waiting until the very end, some things expected and others not. It wrapped up this series in a very satisfying way, although it was open-ended and definitely allowed room for another book, which I would be happy to receive! We follow a little bit of everyone's story in A Want So Wicked and everyone gets their conclusion, no matter how open, so I'm left feeling happy yet sad that it's all over. This was a great series by Young, and I'm looking forward to more from her in the future!

What did you think of this sequel? Do you think there'll be a third book? I've seen Suzanne talk about her ideas but I'd love it if Harper Collins really gave the green light!

Find Suzanne on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her blog.
Buy A Want So Wicked from Amazon, The Book Depository, Booktopia and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Review: The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore

Title: The Rise of Nine
Author: Pittacus Lore
Series: Lorien Legacies #3
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Published: August 30th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Until the day I met John Smith, Number Four, I'd been on the run alone, hiding and fighting to stay alive. Together, we are much more powerful. But it could only last so long before we had to separate to find the others… I went to Spain to find Seven, and I found even more, including a tenth member of the Garde who escaped from Lorien alive. Ella is younger than the rest of us, but just as brave. Now we're looking for the others--including John. But so are they.

Although I Am Number Four wasn't the best book, Pittacus Lore proved that this series was worth reading with the following two. Similar to The Power of Six, The Rise of Nine is full of fast-paced action and makes great use of its multiple points of view. In this third instalment, all of the remaining Garde members, bar Five, must overcome different obstacles, all the while trying to reunite in order to defeat the Mogodorian leader, Setrákus Ra. So many exciting story lines progress and capture your attention at once, so it's guaranteed that you'll be on the edge of your seat for this entire read.

Lore's talent not only lies within his ability to write great action sequences, but also his ability to build anticipation which is tangible and irresistibly good. The Rise of Nine allows us into the minds of John (Four), Veronica (Six) and Marina (Seven) and the Lorics are split into two groups. With every change of perspective, the excitement and suspense builds to an almost unbearable level, as we're desperate to continue the story of the group we're currently with.

Four and Nine, who was saved at the end of the previous book, plan to meet up with the others but must evade government agents at the same time. Shockingly, they're working with the Mogodorians and have no idea what their planet is in for. Nine was a comedic and badass character and his evolving relationship with Four was riveting to watch. They have their bonding moments but spend the rest of their time arguing about what to do, where to go and who the powerful Loric that legend speaks of is. Only one Garde member will become as strong as Pittacus Lore (the elder) and be able to defeat the otherwise unbeatable Setrákus Ra. (Of course, both boys think it's them.)

All the way in India, the others think they've found another Loric, a shapeshifter number Eight. This diverse group had to be my favourite. Six was fierce as usual and became the leader of the group, looking after an insecure Marina and young Ella. Their camaraderie was so uplifting and was the one thing we could be sure of. Eight, known by his supporters as Vishnu, is cheeky and possesses amazing abilities we haven't seen before. Their adventures are even more exciting than Four and Nine's but I'll leave that for you to discover... I won't spoil the story but at some points, certain characters veer off on their own paths with their own problems to take care of. The groups constantly change as they separate and merge and it's simply never-ending entertainment!

The final parts of the novel bring us to a culmination of everything Lore's worked to build from page one. We were treated to explosions and gun fights only a few chapters in, but this is even more intense and extravagant. The ending is filled with twists, surprises and several fear-for-their-lives moments too. The Rise of Nine is truly a magnificent read and it would be a shame to miss out on this series. With a ton of action and suspense, mixed in with friendship and a hint of romance, what's not to love?

Buy The Rise of Nine from Amazon, The Book Depository, Booktopia and Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

All Hail The Mail! (11)

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

Hi guys. I've officially returned to blogging for good this year! In the sidebar you'll see the list of upcoming reviews I have for you and soon, the 2012 books will be mixed in with those of 2013! I hope to catch up with a few books I missed last year (order awaiting arrival from The Book Depository!) while I stay current with new releases. Just wait! (And thank you for waiting so patiently last year.)

These books are from the past 2 months. I hope some much anticipated books will be in my mailbox next week! (I'm close to fainting in excitement.) See you then. It's great to be back!

The Farm by Emily McKay
Touch by Jus Accardo
Toxic by Jus Accardo
Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick
Breathe by Sarah Crossnan
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Far Rockaway by Charlie Fletcher
Penelope by Rebecca Harrington
Possessed by Niki Valentine
Unfed by Kirsty McKay
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
The Skeleton Key by Tara Moss
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Torn by David Massey

A big thank you to Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Bloomsbury, Allen & Unwin, Harlequin, Hachette, Scholastic and Pan Macmillan for sending me these review copies!

Some of these I'll be reading, some of them I won't. I loved Scent of Magic but the others? Thoughts? Which did you love and which were you disappointed by? Let me know!

What did you receive in the mail this week?

Leave a comment/link and I'll be sure to stop by!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: Rift by Andrea Cremer

Title: Rift
Author: Andrea Cremer
Series: Nightshade Prequel
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Published: August 7th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Sixteen-year-old Ember Morrow is promised to a group called Conatus after one of their healers saves her mother's life. Once she arrives, Ember finds joy in wielding swords, learning magic, and fighting the encroaching darkness loose in the world. She also finds herself falling in love with her mentor, the dashing, brooding, and powerful Barrow Hess. When the knights realize Eira, one of their leaders, is dabbling in dark magic, Ember and Barrow must choose whether to follow Eira into the nether realm or to pledge their lives to destroying her and her kind.

In the Scottish lowlands of 1404, a young girl named Ember Morrow is called upon to serve at Tearmann, after her mother was saved by one of the Conatus during a difficult childbirth 16 years ago. Although her friend Alistair returns with high hopes of a relationship between them once they're both there, he's shocked and unwilling to accept that she doesn't feel the same way. Even worse, she ends up falling for her mentor, Barrow. Although I enjoyed Ember and Barrow's scenes thoroughly, I found myself disappointed by others. A large portion of the novel is in the point of view of Eira, the antagonist, and for me her scenes were quite tiring and frustrating. While I usually enjoy reading from the perspective of the villain, something about Eira irked me…

I loved Ember as a character. She was strong and willing to learn, willing to abandon her family to do something she was passionate about. They saw her duty as a terrible punishment for a woman, but she revelled in her newfound knowledge and power. Her transition from a proper girl to a useful woman was a joy to watch, especially with Knight Barrow Hess to guide her along… His introduction in Rift is not one to be forgotten, besting the guards of Ember's father in a fight with ease. Being a strong character himself, his relationship with Ember is very dynamic. They go through the stages of properness, denial, lust and love, stubbornly butting heads one moment and lost in each other's gaze the next. Cremer has always written good love scenes, so major UST and swooning ahead!

As Eira becomes impatient with the other members of the Circle, who want to wait and plan before taking action against evil forces, she is lured to the dark side when she is offered the power to take action on her own, to make a difference for the better, or so she thinks. Predictably, this turns her into a ruthless evil, drunk on power. I can't put my finger on what was wrong with Eira, but I felt like abandoning the book every time I had to endure her. Annoyance aside, Cremer does a great job of building the mystery surrounding the seemingly random but dangerously linked events.

There were so many wonderful things about Rift that I could gush all day about. From Ember's beautiful stallion, Caber, to her impressive combat skills, I was enchanted. Rift revisits portal weaving and characters we've seen before from the Nightshade series, and introduces the history and other elements of this world we haven't seen before. Cremer was able to get me flustered, enraged and giddy multiple times throughout this book and had me clutching desperately at the pages by the final chapters. There's an intensity we're not used to seeing from Cremer in this book and I loved it. As usual, the ending doesn't disappoint and has me 110% ready for the sequel!

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

What did you guys think? Did you like this prequel series more than the original? I can hardly believe that Rise will be released tomorrow. EXCITED? Understatement.

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