Wednesday 31 March 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is "Paranormalcy", by Kiersten White. Here is the description from Goodreads.

"Sixteen-year-old Evie's job is bagging and tagging paranormals. Possessing the strange ability to see through their glamours, she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. But when someone--or something--starts taking out the vamps, werewolves, and other odd beasties she's worked hard to help become productive members of society, she's got to figure it out before they all disappear and the world becomes utterly normal.

Normal is so overrated".

Firstly, how gorgeous is the cover art?! Secondly, Kiersten is a lovely lady who makes me laugh when I read her blog, especially "ARC adventures" and if you don't know about the saga of the missing ARC's then YOU'RE missing out and you need to click here immediately and check it out. I'm really looking forward to reading this book as I think the premise is quite original. I can't imagine my world without some paranormal in it! I recently entered an impromptu contest ran by Kiersten on Twitter and whilst I didn't win (I may have come a close second) that's OK because there will be more contests to win ARC's in the future. Failing that, I am DEFINITELY buying the book and now I have promised to buy Heidi R Kling a copy since I got her excited to read it too (and to say thank you for her offer of assistance during the contest). I will honour my promise!

Paranormalcy is officially released into the world on 21st September, 2010 and there will be two sequels! Kiersten has an official website (as well as her blog) and you can visit by clicking here. Kiersten is also on Facebook and Twitter.

I heart monster birthday giveaway

My friends over at "I heart Monster" are having an amazing contest that you don't want to miss! They are giving away 31 books - some of which are ARC's, some are signed, some are pre-orders. It's international and the deadline is 15th April. If I were you, I'd scoot over there now to enter! Click here for more information!

Tuesday 30 March 2010

I had this dream...

I had a weird dream this morning and it scared me. I wanted to use it as inspiration to write. So I did. Here is a small sample of my own writing. I feel very vulnerable doing this but I want to do it so here it is. Hope you like it.

They were coming. I could feel it in my bones. The atmosphere became oppressive and the room seemed a lot smaller than I remembered. I pretended to be asleep. With my eyes closed, the only indication I had that they were there was the sudden drop in temperature. An eerie feeling washed over me but I couldn’t let them know I was aware. I concentrated hard on my breathing. In. Out. In. Out. Slow and controlled. My skin prickled as I felt a weak breeze around the bed space and I realised they were darting about, searching for something. But Searching for what? Every fibre in my being was on edge but I couldn’t let it show. A steady stream of adrenaline flowed through my veins and although my senses were heightened, I struggled to hear anything past the thumping sound of my own heart beating in my ears. I fought to control the rise and fall of my chest. I don’t think I’d ever been more focused on my breathing at that moment than EVER before in my life. I imagined my breath, a visible white haze carrying all the tension out of me.

Then, I felt them MOVE me. I rolled over and tried to moan authentically as a sleeping soul would when they were being dragged back from the dream world. I leaned into my boyfriend. I was lying in an awkward position with my limbs twisted beneath me. I wouldn’t be able to hold on for much longer. When my arm started feeling like it belonged to anyone but me, I moaned and stretched in exaggerated like movements, signalling to Them that I was waking. I decided that I was going to count to three and then finally prise my eyes open. One. Two. Three. I opened my eyes. The room was still and deathly silent. Maybe this was a dream. A nightmare more like.

Monday 29 March 2010

The Crescent Review

This is one of the hardest reviews I think I have ever written. I don’t understand why it becomes more difficult to write a review about a book that you truly, truly love. For example, there has to be a reason why my review of Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is not up here yet! Perhaps I am worried I will not portray the book in the right light, that I won’t do it justice. Anyway, that being said I have actually re-read The Crescent and battled with this all day with a view to writing the best review possible. So here goes...

I have only recently been introduced to the writings of Jordan Deen. I saw a contest to win her book, looked it up on Amazon, thought it sounded really interesting and entered the contest. I decided there and then that even if I didn’t win, I would still be buying the book. To my surprise, I won the book and was thrilled to receive it yesterday! Yes, that’s right. I’ve had the book in my possession for about 24 hours and I’ve already read it. It’s not very long at 187 pages so I knew I could have it read quickly but for a debut novel, it’s fantastic and definitely what I call a “just another chapter” kind of book. Let’s just say that I went to bed at 4am.

The main protagonist is Lacey Quinn who is counting down the days until her 18th birthday. She is an only child and comes from a pretty rough home where her parents argue nonstop. NOTHING is going to stop her from going to college where she can escape the madness of her home life and finally have a decent social life. That is until Alex and Brandon enter the scene - two new guys at school who both make a lasting impression on Lacey. Alex may have gotten there first but Lacey cannot deny the overpowering instant connection she has with Brandon. She may be dating Alex but Brandon haunts her dreams and as time goes on, it becomes increasingly difficult for her to distinguish between dreams and reality. Lacey must choose between Alex, her first love and Brandon her supposed soul mate. Only her decisions will cost her much more than she realises. Unbeknownst to Lacey, she is caught in the middle of an ancient war and she is the key to it all. A family secret slowly unravels itself and threatens to destroy everything she has ever known. This is a story of first love vs. True love. How do you choose your soul mate when your heart belongs to someone else? How do you choose your destiny when it will destroy everything and everyone you love? Destiny cannot be stopped, can it?

From the very first pages, I was immediately drawn into the story and I think it’s clear by now that I LOVED this book with a passion - it basically blew me away. And to top it all off, the cover art is just gorgeous! I have to be honest at this point and say that the book contained a lot of spelling and grammatical errors (blame the editors) but for me, the story shone through. I struggled to regain some coherence when I finished reading and I love it when a book does that to you. This is a fantastic debut novel from Jordan Deen and it definitely left me wanting more. The sequel entitled “Half Moon” is currently in the pipeline with no set release date as of yet. Jordan has her own website which you can visit by clicking here. She is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Hex Hall Review

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins has already been released in the U.S. but has yet to be released in the UK. I have no idea why the release dates aren't the same but I can tell you that the cover art is different. I have to say that I prefer the U.S. cover art and it’s a hardback (I know, I know). The good thing about purchasing that particular copy though, besides that it is a hardback, is that it meant I could read it now as opposed to waiting for the UK release date. I started reading this last night and managed to finish it within 4 hours. It was definitely a fun read and I just love Rachel’s sense of humour.

The main protagonist is Sophia (Sophie) Mercer and she is a young witch. After a love spell goes horribly wrong, she is sent to Hecate Hall, or Hex Hall as it is affectionately known amongst the students, which is a reformatory school for the Prodigium. The Prodigium are made up of magical beings such as witches, warlocks, werewolves, shape shifters, fairies and vampires. Students are sent to Hex Hall when they need to be taught how to use magic more responsibly and this is why Sophie is there. Before long, strange goings on at Hex Hall put all the students in danger but will they figure out what’s going on before another student is murdered?

For some reason, I kept thinking of “The Worst Witch” (I loved that film when I was younger) when I first started reading but I can see why I would make that comparison. Sophie’s spells always seem to go wrong, that is if she can make them work at all! Sophie was a great character and a loyal friend to her roommate Jenna, the only vampire student at Hex hall. I loved Sophie's sense of humour and humanity.

There were some other great characters in Hex Hall to include both teachers and students. The headmistress Mrs. Casnoff reminded me of a motherly version of Dumbledore from Harry Potter. Archer Cross is the love interest and boy is he hot! Even though he might come across as a tad arrogant at first, you can see why Sophie cannot help herself falling for him. I could imagine doing the exact same thing in her position. I loved the fact that their relationship was not straightforward though and full of complications such as Archer’s girlfriend for example. At first, this made me feel a bit uncomfortable but it could just as easily happen in real life and did Archer really like Elodie anyway? I’m not sure, I have a feeling he had an ulterior motive.

There were quite a few revelations towards the end of the book that I didn’t see coming and I loved the feeling of being surprised. It did however leave a lot of things left wide open and I assume these will be addressed in the sequel. “God I hope so!” is the most appropriate response I could muster at the moment. I love the fact that Rachel added some “Britishness” into the book too and you’ll see what I mean when you read it. I don’t want to give away too much of the story but I’m really looking forward to the sequel and will be pestering Rachel to find out when exactly that will be! Rachel has a website and you can visit by clicking here. She can also be found on facebook and Twitter. The UK release date for Hex Hall is 1st April, 2010 so not long to wait now!

Sunday 28 March 2010

In My Mailbox (week 4)

"In My Mailbox" was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Every Sunday, I will let you know what books I've picked up in the week!

First up is "The Crescent" by Jordan Deen. I was lucky enough to win a copy and I've just finished reading it (less than 24 hours since it came through the door). That should give you some indication of how good I think it is. I'll be posting my review later today or tomorrow when I regain some coherence. I love it when a book blows me away like that and I'm very exited to have discovered a new author! Also, the cover art is just beautiful!

"Brightly Woven" by Alex Bracken has been on my radar list for a while. I had a hard time getting hold of a copy though and had to wait for it to come back in stock before I could order if from an online seller. I even signed up to have a notification e mail sent to me the minute it was back in stock! Anyway, I'm glad to say that it's now in my lovely, little hands. I think the cover art is pretty and I'm looking forward to reading it soon.

"Dark Secrets" by Elizabeth Chandler sounded interesting and the cover drew me to it. I have another book by Elizabeth sat on my shelves (part of the neverending TBR pile) and I just had to have it so I bought it. The sequel to this book, "Dark Secrets 2" is out 4th May and it's on the wishlist.

"The World of Myth" by David Adams Leeming was recommended to me by Shanon Delany (Author of "13 to Life"). She said it was a good reference for writers when world building. I thought it sounded interesting and would make great research.

Last but by no means least is "Some Girls Bite" by Chloe Neill. I've not read anything by Chloe before but I've heard a lot about her and her books. I've got "Firespell" on the list and whilst that is out now, I'm waiting for the hardback (c'mon, you know by now I have an obsession with hardbacks). "Some Girls Bite" has just been released in the UK and I thought I would like it so I bought it.

Saturday 27 March 2010

Rising Shadow Review

Recently, I was lucky enough to be part of a book tour for Rising Shadow, by Jacquelyn Wheeler (courtesy of International Book Tours). The blurb on the jacket of the book peaked my curiosity and I was interested in the philosophy behind “Soterians” described as people who develop powers when the balance of good and evil shifts too far in evil’s favour. I liked the idea that neither side could triumph, just like yin and yang there must always be a balance.

The main protagonist is Ashlyn Woods, a young college student who just transferred to a campus on the west coast. I have to say, it was nice to read about an older person (a lot of YA books are featuring 13-16 year olds) so it made a change to read about a 20 year old going to college. Ashlyn quickly realises that she is different and after a strange incident, she discovers that she has special powers. She then hooks up with three other students who develop different abilities and together they form a unit. Later on in the book, we are introduced to another unit and this definitely made it more interesting as the two units worked together to maintain the balance between good and evil. I liked the suggestion that these units exist everywhere and so it might have made it even more interesting if we could have seen units in other countries or included some kind of power shift that was international instead of just happening in California.

This book was definitely a plot driven novel rather than a character driven novel. It centred around politicians who wanted to see their evil plans put in motion once elected. I did like the twist at the end though when the main culprit was revealed. One thing that did frustrate me however, was the introduction of the mythical creature “Deimos” towards the end of the book. I’m guessing this was a reference to the devil and how he should be feared but although his name was mentioned and alluded to several times towards the end of the book, nothing ever came of it. At first I was thinking “what was the point of adding him in the first place?!” On reflection, perhaps it was a ploy by the author to introduce him now, as he would feature heavily in the sequel.

Although this book was somewhat refreshing (no vampires/zombies/ wolves/ ghosts/angels in sight) it did feel a little lengthy to me. I’m not sure if this was because I was having a rough time at work and had to meet a deadline to send it on to the next reader or not, but it was a thick book. And sadly not what I call a “Just another chapter” kind of book. You know the kind, when you race home from work to read it, when you can’t stop reading and suddenly it’s the early hours of the morning. Don’t get me wrong, it was entertaining but I’m not sure if I really want to read the sequel when there are so many great books on my TBR pile at the moment. Personally, I think this story would work better visually as its very action based and I’d love to see it as a TV series. Just like the Vampire Diaries books didn’t work for me, I love the TV series with a passion.

This is a very mixed review and so I would always encourage people to read the book for themselves and make up their own minds.If you visit the Soterians website, you can actually download a PDF version of the book for free. Click here to visit the site. The sequel “Merger” is out now and I believe there is a goodreads contest to win a copy.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is "Sleepless", by Cyn Balog. Here is the description from Goodreads.

"Eron De Marchelle isn't supposed to feel a connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce human charges to sleep. While he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to--after all, getting too involved in one human's life would prevent him helping his other charges get their needed rest.

But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia. Julia, with her fiery red hair and her sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. Eron has always felt protective of Julia . . . but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't seem to reach her . . .

Sandmen are forbidden from communicating with humans outside their dreams. But will Eron be willing to risk everything for a chance to be with the person he loves?"

I think this book sounds sooooo interesting and I love the idea of incorporating sleep and dreams (which is a subject that fascinates me). "Sleepless" is released on 13th July, 2010. Cyn Balog is the author of "Fairy Tale" and you can visit her website here. She is also on Facebook.

My First Ever Contest WINNER!

Thank you to everyone who entered my contest. When I counted up all the entries there were 50 people that were eligible to win! I used "" to select a winner and without further ado, I am pleased to announce that....

AMANDA LEIGH is the winner! Congratulations!

You win a SIGNED copy of Blood Promise, by Richelle Mead, a little paper booklet that I got from the book store and also a too cute bookbag from Paperchase. I have e mailed Amanda and she has 48 hours to reply. If I do not hear from her, I will pick an alternative winner.

Monday 22 March 2010

First Blog Award

Thank you to thedoortowonderland for giving me this award, I really appreciate it!

The rules after you've received the award:

1. Thank and link to the person that gave you the award
2. Pass the award onto 15 bloggers you’ve recently discovered and think are fantastic
3. Contact said blogs and let them know they’ve won
4. State 7 things about yourself

This task was really difficult actually but I finally narrowed it down to the following 15 blogs:


7 things about me
1. I am a nurse.
2. I have lots of ideas for books and want to be a published writer in the future.
3. My other love is music, I sing and play piano. I've also written a lot of songs.
4. I'm a movie watching addict.
5. I can't keep my flat clean and tidy because I'm always too busy.
6. I think teddy bears are adorable and they tempt me into buying them at regular intervals.
7. I really want to see the new Harry Potter Theme Park in Orlando, Florida.

Sunday 21 March 2010

Before I Fall Review

I have a confession to make. I read “Before I Fall” by Lauren Oliver a few weeks ago now but it’s taken me a while to write the review. Why? Because I was left dumbstruck when I finished reading the book and it took time for me to digest the story fully and become coherent again! This is one of those books that you’re still thinking about long after you’ve read it.

One of my first thoughts whilst reading was that I would describe this book as Final Destination meets Groundhog Day. If you read the book, you’ll understand what I mean. Imagine living the same day over and over, knowing that ultimately it will end in your death. What would you do? Could you save yourself? “Before I Fall” is Sam’s journey to discover the answer to these questions.

I had a little difficulty getting into the book at first and I think this is mainly because Sam (the main protagonist) is not a nice character – in the beginning. Throughout the book, her character grows and develops into someone that you do care about. She transforms from some shallow schoolgirl into the heroine of the story. The book is written over 7 days and I have to say that day 4 was my favourite. It was THIS day that Sam decided to do whatever she wanted, and I liked that ;) Think “a day without consequences” and let your imagination run wild!

I thought the supporting characters were all really well written and I loved the camaraderie between the four girls. There was great humour present throughout the book and you may recognise a few of the characters from your own high school friends.

Ultimately, this book makes you think twice about the person you were nasty to lately, said something horrible to or even just ignored. “Before I Fall” makes you want to hug the closest person next to you and just appreciate life. To sum up, I would describe “Before I Fall” as poignant, profoundly written and beautifully executed. A definite must read.

Random Big Giveaway

Juciliciousss Reviews has an exciting contest going on at the moment to win a mystery box of books! You won't know what you're getting unless you win! Personally I think this makes it more exciting and there will be not one but TWO winners! Each winner will receive about 8-9 newly released or not-even-released YA novels. And the best part is that this contest is international so get entering! The deadline is 21st April. Good luck everyone!

Click here to visit the site and enter the Random Big Giveaway!

In My Mailbox

"In My Mailbox" was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Every Sunday, I will let you know what books I've picked up in the week!

First up is "The Body Finder" by Kimberly Derting. I've been wanting to read this book for ages now but had to wait for the release date to get hold of a copy! Now I'm trying to find the time to read it - hopefully next month when I have annual leave. Anyway, I managed to convince Kimberly to let me be part of "The Body Finder Street Team" promoting the book in my town. Gorgeous cover art and interesting story, I've heard a lot of good things about this book.

Next is "Never Cry Werewolf" by Heather Davis. I LOVE the cover art and I liked the premise of the story. I've not heard of the author before but I'd like to give her writing a try.

I've been seeing loads of contests and mentions of "Numbers" by Rachel Ward and so I decided to check it out. I really prefer the cover art for the hardback as opposed to the paperback (hence I bought the hardback) and once again, I thought the premise was really interesting. AND I've just found out that there is a sequel coming.

I can't remember who it was now but someone mentioned this book in a blog post (I think it was an author advising on writing, Shannon Delany maybe?). Anyway, I decided it was good research material.

Just to make you laugh, I also ordered "Fairy Tale" this week by Cyn Balog. When it arrived and I went to my shelves, I saw the same book staring back at me! LOL. I'd forgotten that I already had it and it was on my TBR list. I'm definitely a book addict!

Look out for future reviews on these books and more.

Birthday Bash Contest: Egmont Prize Pack!

Fancying reading some great books and then reviewing them? My friends over at "The Undercover Book Lover (not really)" are having a birthday bash contest to win 3 books:

1 ARC of Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
1 ARC of Siren by Tricia Rayburn
1 ARC of Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The only condition is that the winner of this contest will review ALL three books, no exceptions! Whilst this contest is open to US entries, if you have a US mailing address (i.e. someone who could mail it to you) then you can enter! Click here to visit the site.

Saturday 20 March 2010

Author Appreciation Week (day 6)

As I'm sure you all know by now (especially if you follow a lot of blogs) it's Author Appreciation Week! This idea was originally thought up by the very lovely and hilarious Heidi R. Kling, debut author of "Sea". The idea is to blog each day this week about an author you love and explain why you love them. I've been blogging all week and technically speaking, I think officially this "celebration" has ended but not for me. I wanted to include one last post and dedicate it to author's I've heard so much about but have not yet read their books, authors who are part of the TENNERS (publishing debut novels in 2010) and an author who is not yet published but trying to be.

Awesome authors (I have your books but haven't read them yet! I'm so sorry, I will I promise!)
Melissa Marr - Wicked Lovely Series
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones/Ashes/Glass)
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games Trilogy)
Lisa Shroeder -I Heart You, You Haunt Me, Far From You, Chasing Brooklyn

Amy Brecount White - Forget-Her-Nots
Jennifer Murgia - Angel Star
Shannon Delany - 13 To Life
Jeri Smith-Ready - Shade (this is her YA debut)
Kimberly Derting - The Body Finder
Lindsey Leavitt - Princess for Hire
Angie Frazier - Everlasting
Kelly Creagh - Nevermore
Heidi R. Kling - Sea

Special Mention
Magan Vernon - this young lady has written a book but is currently in the revision stages. I've read her work and offered constructive criticism. Bless her, she has taken it all on board. I like the book and hope she gets an agent and a publisher.

I have to say that I appreciate all authors as it takes a lot of hard work, talent, determination and imagination to write a book and send it out into the world to entertain the masses! Yes, a bit of good luck is needed too but without everything else, it would never happen in the first place! THANK YOU to all authors out there - PLEASE keep doing what you do!

There are so many to add to both lists but I've just finished work and it's almost midnight so if I forget to include you, I'm sorry! Your name is there in spirit :)

Mega International and Fantastic YA Box Contest!

The Bookologist is having an exciting competition over at their site and you can win a box of books! She has a lot of ARC's available (including Sea by Heidi R.Kling and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater). It's open to everyone and the deadline is 26th April! Click here to visit the site. Good luck everyone!!

Can I Be Your Book Fairy Contest?!

Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm are having a FANTASTIC contest over at their site at the moment. They are having a clearout of all their ARC's and the list of books to giveaway is:

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
For Keeps by Natasha Friend
Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson
Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw
Winter Longing by Tricia Mills

The winner gets to pick approximately 12 books and there is some mystery swag too! It's US only I'm afraid and the contes
t deadline is 25th April. Click here to enter.

Friday 19 March 2010

Author Appreciation Week (day 5)

As I'm sure you all know by now (especially if you follow a lot of blogs) it's Author Appreciation Week! This idea was originally thought up by the very lovely and hilarious Heidi R. Kling, debut author of "Sea". The idea is to blog each day this week about an author you love and explain why you love them.

Today I have chosen Richelle Mead, author of the Vampire Academy books and also some adult titles. I have to admit that I have only read the first Vampire Academy book so far but boy did it make an impression! As some of you may know, I reviewed the book on my blog and I got the chance to meet the lady herself when she turned up at my local Waterstones book shop! What I love about Vampire Academy is that it's very different from other books involving vampires and boarding schools. I like the mythology Richelle incorporates into her novels and I almost feel like humans are trying to fit in to the vampire's world rather than the other way around. Click here to read my review of Vampire Academy.

"Blood Promise", the fourth Vampire Academy book, is out now and I just happened to be giving away a SIGNED copy of it, together with a cute book bag. Click here to enter. "Spirit Bound", the fifth book, will be published in May.

I have not yet read any of Richelle's adult titles but I'd like to and have added them to the TBR pile!

Thursday 18 March 2010

Author Appreciation Week (day 4)

As I'm sure you all know by now (especially if you follow a lot of blogs) it's Author Appreciation Week! This idea was originally thought up by the very lovely and hilarious Heidi R. Kling, debut author of "Sea". The idea is to blog each day this week about an author you love and explain why you love them.

Today's pick is Jeaniene Frost, author of the Night Huntress World series (AKA the Cat and Bones books). I was introduced to this series last year and fell in love with it! The books are more adult in nature but well written and have strong main characters. Cat is a half vampire who hunts FULL vampires to their death (the girl has issues). Bones is a Master Vampire who evades Cat's murderous intentions. Sparks fly. I defy anyone to read these books and not fall in love with Bones! *swoon*

Jeaniene has just recently released "First Drop of Crimson" which is a spin off from the Night Huntress World series and I believe she is currently working on the FIFTH Cat and Bones book. You can find her on Twitter and visit her website by clicking here.

Author Appreciation Week (day 3)

As I'm sure you all know by now (especially if you follow a lot of blogs) it's Author Appreciation Week! This idea was originally thought up by the very lovely and hilarious Heidi R. Kling, debut author of "Sea". The idea is to blog each day this week about an author you love and explain why you love them.

Today's pick is the most AWESOME Claudia Gray, author of Evernight, Stargazer and Hourglass. You may just have noticed that I've read and reviewed all of Claudia's books on here and I *LOVE* them, especially Hourglass which I thought was outstanding! Claudia paints a picture so clearly with words that I feel like I'm actually there in the middle of the scene. I've become so engrossed in her books that I've been up reading in the wee small hours of the morning when I should have been in bed!

I wrote to Claudia a little while ago enquiring about ARC's of Hourglass. Even though it was only a month away from release and I didn't think I had a hope in hell of getting one, Claudia was kind enough to send me one! It was my very first ARC and I'm so proud of it :) I want to say THANK YOU to Claudia for writing such fantastic books and long may it continue! I cannot wait for Afterlife and the stand-alone book about Balthazar *swoon*. You can find Claudia on Facebook and Twitter. She also has a website, you can visit by clicking here.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week's pick is "Shade" by the supercool Jeri Smith-Ready. Jeri has written lots of books including the popular Wicked Game, Bad to the Bone, Eyes of Crow, Voice of Crow, The Reawakened and Requiem for the Devil. Shade is her first YA release.

Here is a short excerpt from Shade (this is posted on Jeri's website):

"Like everyone born after the shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost."

After reading that, can you HONESTLY tell me you don't want to read this book?! The first chapter is floating around on the internet somewhere and after I read it, I was so thirsty for more! I'm aching to read this book and as I'm on an ARC tour, hopefully I won't have very much longer to wait. I suspect that I will devour this book in a day. I have to admit at this point that whilst I have a couple of Jeri's books, I've not yet read anything she has written. But rest assured, she comes highly recommended by my best book pal. I'm really excited to read this book and become a fan of her writing, as I'm already a fan of the lady herself!

Shade is released in the UK and US on 4th May 2010. I will be pre-ordering my copy next month! You can find Jeri on Facebook and Twitter. She also has a website and you can visit her by clicking here.

Author Appreciation Week (days 1 and 2)

As I'm sure you all know by now (especially if you follow a lot of blogs) it's Author Appreciation Week! This idea was originally thought up by the very lovely and hilarious Heidi R. Kling. The idea is to blog each day this week about an author you love and explain why you love them. The more astute among you will notice that I've missed a day (oops) but this is because I've had a rough week at work and have not had time for anything else. In order to prove my point, let me just say that the laundry basket is full and the kitchen resembles something akin to a bomb site! So now I have to do TWO posts today to make up for missing yesterday.

Yesterday's author was going to be Stephenie Meyer. For the simple reason that "Twilight" got me back into reading YA fiction. I devoured all of Stephenie's books in a weekend and loved them. I have to be honest and say I haven't finished "The Host" yet as I had some difficulty getting into it (and how the hell are they going to make this into a movie?!)

Stephenie may be slated by some, but *I* enjoy her writing and no one can deny the success of The Twilight Saga.

My second Author has to be the most awesome, rock star of author's Maggie Stiefvater. It's no secret that she is my favourite YA author and I love her to death (in a totally non stalker kind of way). She is intelligent, witty and UBER talented (dear God, is it REALLY fair to make one person so multitalented? huh?) I have all of her books (yes, including Linger *squeeeeeeee*).

When I was finished reading "The Twilight Saga" I was really stuck for something else to read that would live up to how much I loved Twilight. I kept hearing on the grapevine about a little book called "Shiver" and how good it was. I was going to order it online but then I saw it in a bookshop and immediately bought it (even though it was more expensive) because I was desperate to read it and see what all the fuss was about. Well, I was blown away by it. The funny coincidental thing was, before I read Shiver, I was thinking that it would be good to see a book with one chapter by the girl then the next chapter by the boy and so on. That's pretty much how Shiver is....funny huh?! Shiver is an amazing book and I ended up in tears at the end. I then looked for information about Maggie and found her on facebook and Twitter. I bought her other books and read Lament, my first faery book :) I know what you're thinking, "if you love her so much, how come you haven't written any reviews on her books?" Well, the answer is simple. I want to re-read them so my reviews can be fresh. I'm currently in the middle of re-reading Shiver so I can FINALLY get started on Linger. Then, I'll re-read Lament and Ballad.

Maggie's writing has also encouraged ME to write and I wrote my first short story for about 15 years. I've also entered a writing contest and plan to write a book in the near future (an ACTUAL book people). I also met my best book pal through our love of Maggie's writing and we started a book club together :)

Maggie is part of the Merry Sisters of Fate which consists of three writers: Maggie, the very lovely Tessa Gratton ("Blood Magic") and Brenna Yovanoff ("The Replacement"). They write short stories for our enjoyment and have published an anthology with some of the best ones included. Maggie's blog is always suitably entertaining and she also blogs about becoming a writer, giving advice and tips on the matter.

What I love most about Maggie (besides everything I've just mentioned) is just how accessible she is to her fans. She will acknowledge every comment, every e mail, every nod in her direction. And all this on top of her regular writing work. I really don't know where she finds the time but I'd like to say THANK YOU to her for this, it means a lot to us muggles out here :)

I'm going to stop gushing now, especially as Heidi R. Kling has written a fantastic post about Maggie this week (how can I ever compete?!). I just want to say that if you haven't discovered Maggie Stiefvater yet, what on earth are you waiting for?! GO NOW! FIND HER BOOKS AND READ THEM!

Tuesday 16 March 2010

YA contest that will blow you away!

My friends over at La Femme Readers are holding an AMAZING contest at the moment to win finished copies of....*drum roll please*....

1. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
2. Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
3. Shadows: A Dark Touch Novel by Amy Meredith
4. The Tension of Opposites by Kristine McBride
5. Sea by Heidi R. Kling
6. Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

This is international folks and the closing day is 15th April so plenty of time still to enter! There will be six winners (first come, first serve) and the books will be pre-ordered from The Book Depository. Click here to enter.

Sunday 14 March 2010

In My Mailbox (week 2)

"In My Mailbox" was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren. This is something I started blogging about last week and have now decided that it will be a weekly feature (posted on Sundays) where I will let you know what books I've picked up in the week!

First up is "The Line" by Teri Hall. I'd been interested in this book for a while now and was dissapointed to find out that it wasn't stocked in any of the UK bookshops. Waterstones told me it was because it had no UK rights. Therefore, I bought it from Amazon and it arrived shortly after the release date!

I LOVE the cover for this next book, "The Dark Divine" by Bree Despain. I actually bought this book a while ago but won another copy in a recent contest! YAY! Now I can give this to my best book pal who hasn't got a copy of it. Heard good things about the book and I believe a sequel is now on its way.

I tell everyone that when I get ARC's or review copies, I will always BUY the book if I like it. Just to prove my point, I recieved an ARC of "Hourglass" by Claudia Gray a little while back and reviewed it here on the blog (if you haven't read my review, why on earth not?! And what are you waiting for, go find it now! Go!). Basically I LOVED it and so I had to have a nice hardback to go with the others.

I am currently on an ARC tour for "Rising Shadow" by Jacquelyn Wheeler. It looks really good (the synopsis sounds interesting) but I've had such a hectic week at work that I have barely had a chance to start reading yet! I'm hoping to get an extension before I have to send it on to the next reviewer!

I also received "Forget Her Nots" by the very lovely Amy Brecount White (thanks for following Amy!) I've been really keen to read this book as I think the premise is quite unique and beautiful. I was very lucky to have won this in a contest so I got some bookmarks and postcards too! YAY! Looking forward to reading this :)

Last but not least is "Hex Hall" by Rachel Hawkins. Heard LOADS about this book and I thought it sounded really good! I don't think it's officially been released in the UK yet but that never stops me! I went with the US instead of the UK cover art for the simple reason that I prefer the US version.

Look out for future reviews on all these books (except Hourglass as I've already written it).

Friday 12 March 2010

MEGA swag + more giveaway!

Extreme Reader Book Reviews is giving away tons and I mean TONS of stuff on their site (far too much to list here). All you have to do is fill out a form and spread the word! This giveaway is open internationally and will end on April 10th at Midnight so get your entries in now! Good luck everyone! Click here to enter.

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on...hence the title. This week I've chosen "13 to Life" by Shannon Delany. Goodreads has this description:

"A tale of love, loss, and — oh, yeah — werewolves.

Jessica's life seemed difficult enough since the sudden loss of her mother, but meeting Pietr Rusakova turns her world upside down again. The newest member of Junction High, Pietr is a first generation Russian-American, a fact that by itself makes him different enough to get lots of attention in the small town. But Pietr is far more than good looks and an interesting accent, Pietr has secrets to hide-secrets including dramatic changes he's undergoing that will surely end his life early. Secrets dating back to the Cold War get the better of Jessica's curiosity, leading her into an exciting and dangerous world where her understanding of reality and what makes a man or a monster will be challenged."

Firstly, the cover art is GORGEOUS and secondly, I think the story looks really interesting! I'm into wolves at the moment ;) Shannon is a lovely lady who is one of the "Tenners" (an author publishing their debut book in 2010). You can visit her on her website here. Also, for all you would be authors, Shannon is giving away invaluable advice over on the "Mundie Moms" forum (will put the link up later as it's technically Thursday morning now in the UK). Am DYING to read this book and it's official release date is 22nd June (in the UK). I'm currently part of an ARC tour and so I should be getting a copy of this very soon to read and review (look out for a review in the near future).

Sunday 7 March 2010

International Giveaway!

"Book-Lover Carol" is having an amazing international giveaway over on her blog. There will be 4 winners. One winner will win books, swag, and nail polish. The other winners will win the nail polish, and maybe a book or two. The list so far includes:

THE IRON KING by Julie Kagawa
HUSH, HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick
WHITE CAT by Holly Black (ARC)
MR.MONSTER by Dan Wells
O, JULIET by Robin Maxwell
NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL by Justina Chen Headley (ARC)
NUMBERS by Rachel Ward (ARC)
FADE by Lisa McMann
WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green & David Levithan (ARC)
GEEKTASTIC edited by Holly Black (ARC)
FALLEN by Lauren Kate (ARC)
...and more to come.

click here to enter. Ends April 1st, good luck to everyone that enters!

In My Mailbox

"In My Mailbox" was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren. I have been thinking about starting this as a regular feature on the blog for some time now and have decided that every Sunday, I will let you know what books I've picked up in the week!

So this week lets start with the awesome "Linger" by Maggie Stiefvater. As most of you will know by now, I was very lucky to win an ARC of Linger from a contest with over 2,800 entries! I always seem to get a feeling when books are going to arrive in the mail and I was right, it arrived on Saturday! I'm trying to resist the temptation to immediately start reading as I want to re-read Shiver first so it's fresh for review writing purposes. Thank you to Maggie though for drawing a little wolf in it and signing it for me *grin*

Next up is "Howl's Moving Castle" by Dianna Wynne Jones. I ended up scouring Ebay for this one as I really wanted a hard back copy (I don't know why, I'm just weird like that - I prefer hard backs). It all started with a blog post over at Maggie Stiefvater's blog. I've never read anything by Dianna Wynne Jones before but it's Maggie Stiefvater and Tessa Gratton's fault for this one! They were raving about it and urged me to read it.

I also bought "The Splendour Falls" by Rosemary Clement-Moore as I'd heard some really good things about it. I saw the paperback copy in book shops but I really wanted the hardback so I got it online. Looking forward to reading this one and I love the cover art!

"The Demon's Lexicon" by Sarah Rees Brennan is another book I had been meaning to pick up for a while. I didn't like the cover art for the paperback so as usual, I sought out the hard back and I much prefer it! Again, I've heard good things about this book so I'm looking forward to reading it. I heard a rumour about a sequel but don't quote me on that until I know more.

"The Pace" by Shelena Shorts is another book I'd heard good things about so picked up a copy. No hardback available so I settled for the paperback. Lovely cover art.

I was in Waterstones yesterday picking up yet another copy of Shiver (for a friend's birthday) and it was part of a 3 for 2 offer. Obviously I cannot resist such offers and so I pondered for quite a while over what other books to buy. I thought I had it all figured out until I came across the following two books: "Archangel's Kiss" and "Blood Angel" by Nalini Singh. I read the blurb on the back and thought they sounded really interesting. Also, love the cover art. And yes they're paperback copies (sometimes it's OK). So I'm adding them to the TBR pile.

Look out for future reviews on all the above titles folks!

Saturday 6 March 2010

The One with the Big Damn Contest

Alexandra Bracken is the debut author of Brightly Woven, which is released on 23rd March. I'd really love to read this book but unfortunately for me (but good for Alexandra) her book is out of stock at the moment on all UK book ordering websites! However, all is not lost as you can win a copy (as well as some other amazing prizes) over at her Livejournal blog: Just click here to visit her and enter. Not sure if this one is international but I'm entering anyway and it closes on 16th March. Good luck to everyone!

Goodreads description of Brightly Woven:

"Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.

In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry".

I would put a preorder link up but Amazon and The Book Depository have sold out at present :(

Birthday Bash Contest!

The Undercover Book Lover is having a birthday bash contest (Happy Birthday!!) and is giving away 12 amazing books which include:

1 Finished copy of The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
1 Finished copy of The Sight by Judy Blundell
1 Finished copy of Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn
1 Finished copy of Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
1 Finished copy of The Line by Teri Hall
1 Finished copy of The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott
1 Finished copy of The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
1 Finished copy of Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
1 Finished copy of Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White
1 Finished copy of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
1 ARC of Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
1 ARC of White Cat by Holly Black

They will be ordered from AMAZON and shipped directly to the winner (apart from the ARC's). All you have to do to enter is visit the site here and fill in the form! The contest is international and ends 10th March so not long to go now! Good luck everyone!

Thursday 4 March 2010

SEA PEOPLE UNITE! (Heidi made us do it)

I want to introduce you to "Sea" and it's amazing author Heidi R. Kling. She has to be one of the most entertaining people I know on Twitter and is constantly making me snort (note to self, do not drink anything whilst reading Heidi's tweets). Heidi is one of the 2010 debut author's and Sea is her first published novel. Sea is actually inspired by Heidi's husband's volunteer efforts in Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami that devastated the region.

Goodreads description of Sea:

"Haunted by recurring nightmares since her mother’s disappearance over the Indian ocean three years before, fifteen-year old California girl Sienna Jones reluctantly travels with her psychiatrist father’s volunteer team to six-months post-tsunami Indonesia where she meets the scarred and soulful orphaned boy, Deni, who is more like Sea than anyone she has ever met. She knows they can’t be together, so why can’t she stay away from him? And what about her old best friend-turned-suddenly-hot Spider who may or may not be waiting for her back home? And why won’t her dad tell her the truth about her mother’s plane crash? The farther she gets from home, the closer she comes to finding answers. And Sea’s real adventure begins".

Blurbs about SEA:

"Sea is an emotional, and hopeful story that's just like the actual sea; Sea is just as perfect, and just as turbulent as the sea. Heidi R. Kling, with a beautiful and lyrical prose, takes readers on a nose-dive to a world of complete devastation, innocence, and--against all circumstances--hope and love". --THE UNDERCOVER BOOK LOVER

"From the first page of SEA, the reader is plunged into a world of love, loss, and hope. The heat between Sienna and Deni is mirrored in the steamy exotic setting of Indonesia. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put this book down. Sienna is conflicted and compassionate... I truly loved this book and can't wait to recommend it to all the teenagers I know!" -- L.K. Madigan, William C. Morris Award winning author of FLASH BURNOUT

"From the opening pages of SEA, the hair stood on the back of my neck, as it does whenever I encounter a writer who really knows what she's doing with words. Tragedies and miracles coexist in this entrancing debut novel about the aftermath of a tsunami." -- Jennifer R. Hubbard, author of THE SECRET YEAR.

Heidi is very kindly giving away TWO ARC's of SEA on her website. Visit her to enter the contest:

You can preorder it here